A: The key is to spend the time you need in training. The tendency is to want to hurry through training and just get out there, but once you do that, some people find that they don’t have the tools they need…they don’t know how to design a study and how to apply for a grant.
Explore This IssueApril 2012
The problem is that once you get to the level where you’re an academic…you’ve got to figure out how you’re going to pay for it. And if it’s going to take you a long time figuring out what you’re doing before you’re even going to apply for grants, most people aren’t going to be interested in supporting you to do that, especially when the success rate in getting grants is pretty low right now.
Titles: Assistant professor, division of otology, neurotology, skull base surgery and department of epidemiology, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and Bloomberg School of Public Health; core faculty, Johns Hopkins Center on Aging and Health, Baltimore
Research: Dr. Lin’s research analyzes the effects of hearing loss on the cognitive, physical and social functioning of older adults and the role of therapeutic modalities in potentially mitigating these effects. He plans to study how cochlear implants, hearing aids and other rehabilitative modalities can help patients. Eventually, he wants to establish a center for hearing outcomes research at Johns Hopkins.
Q: Your residency work involved hearing loss in children with cochlear implants. How did a pediatric focus turn to older patients?
A: No one is going to argue if you say that hearing loss in kids is detrimental given that it can affect a child’s development. As I cast around a couple of years ago thinking about what kind of research project I wanted to start my academic career with, I talked to a lot of people. One person in particular I talked to said to me, “Hearing loss in kids is a closed book. What you really need to look at is hearing loss in older adults, which is basically completely overlooked.” As I started researching this idea, I realized that although hearing loss is often perceived as being an inconsequential part of aging, this perception is actually not rooted in any scientific evidence, because nobody’s ever studied it before.
Q: How daunting is it to tackle a research area with little historical analysis?