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In terms of research, the division’s main focus is on developing a “vestibular implant”, an artificial ear that, in a similar manner to the cochlear implant in clinical use for more than 25 years to rehabilitate hearing in completely deaf patients, would restore the sense of balance in patients whose vestibular function is impaired in both ears. This research is conducted in collaboration with Professor Daniel Merfeld (Jenks Vestibular Physiology Laboratory, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA), who is working with animals while Geneva conducts tests on humans. In order to accelerate development, Geneva has invited the group of Professor Herman Kingma (Department of Vestibulology, Maastricht University Medical Centre, Maastricht, The Netherlands) to take part.
The Rhinology-Olfactology Unit develops psychophysical and electrophysiological measures for the sense of taste and the sensitivity of the intranasal trigeminals. In terms of basic research in the field of olfaction, collaboration has been established with the Department of Zoology and Animal Biology of the University of Geneva (Professor I. Rodriguez) to describe the presence and distribution of human smell receptors, and with the Affective Sciences Interfaculty Center at the University of Geneva (Dr. S. Delplanque) to investigate the emotional aspect of smells.
The Head-and-Neck Surgery Unit is working to improve early and specific diagnoses and treatments for ENT cancer using imaging. It also develops micro-endoscopic techniques for the diagnosis and treatment of salivary gland disorders.
The Phoniatrics Unit develops perception and instrument assessment methods for speech problems. In addition, an anatomical and physiological research project is focused on the velopharyngeal function and methods to evaluate velopharyngeal impairment.
The Pediatric ENT Unit is investigating the benefit of smell and taste stimulation in very young children and, in collaboration with Pulmonology, sleep apnea syndrome in obese children. Lastly, a project with the Faculty of Psychology and Education Sciences in Geneva is investigating the possible relationship between a vestibular disorder in deaf children and writing problems.