How Your Brain Understands What Your Ear Hears
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) website
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National Institutes of Health
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders

How Your Brain Understands What Your Ear Hears

Main    Getting Started    Teacher's Guide    Student Activities    About NIH and NIDCD

Glossary    Map    Contact

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About NIH

About the National Institutes of Health

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Founded in 1887, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) today is the federal focal point for medical research in the United States. Composed of separate institutes and centers, NIH is one of eight health agencies of the Public Health Service within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The NIH mission is to uncover new knowledge about the prevention, detection, diagnosis, and treatment of disease and disability, from the rarest genetic disorder to the common cold. It does this through

Science education efforts by NIH and its institutes and centers are critical in ensuring the continued supply of well-trained basic research and clinical investigators, as well as the myriad professionals in the many allied disciplines who support the research enterprise. These efforts also help educate people about the scientific results so that they can make informed decisions about their own health as well as the health of the public.

This curriculum supplement is one such science education effort, done through the partnership of the NIH National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, the NIH Office of Science Education, and Biological Sciences Curriculum Study (BSCS).

About the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders

James F. Battey, Jr.
James F. Battey, Jr., M.D., Ph.D.

What We Do

Fundamental processes of hearing, balance, smell, taste, voice, speech, and language allow humans to interact and to experience and manipulate their environment. NIH’s primary research institute devoted to human communication research is the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD). The NIDCD supports research across the 50 states. Some of that research may be going on right now in your state. For more information on the NIDCD, consult Appendix II—More About the NIDCD and Its Research, or visit us on the Web at

Your Young Scientists

The NIDCD is committed to encouraging young people who have an interest in science to delve into it further. It also is working to improve public understanding about how normal and diseased processes work so that individuals can make well-informed decisions about their health over a lifetime. Please let us know about your experience with the module, or let us answer any questions you have about any aspect of the material presented or the research of the NIDCD.

As director of the NIDCD, I am indebted to you for your work with these young people, and as the father of two middle schoolers, I appreciate the challenges you will face! Thank you for your interest in human communication research.

Jim Battey, M.D., Ph.D., Director NIDCD

healthy hair cell
Electron micrograph of a healthy hair cell.

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