Susan D Emmett

Susan D Emmett

Associate Professor of Head and Neck Surgery and Communication Sciences

My research focuses on reducing hearing health disparities globally. I work with colleagues around the world to define the global burden of hearing loss and deepen our understanding of its social, economic, and health impact. We apply a public health approach that spans prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.

Fundamental to prevention is evaluating why hearing loss is so much more common in low-resource settings and investigating risk factors that are potentially modifiable. I have focused my prevention efforts on undernutrition, evaluating the contribution of early life malnutrition and micronutrient deficiencies to risk of hearing loss in Nepal. We are currently expanding this work to the Bolivian Amazon.

Diagnosis of hearing loss in remote settings brings unique challenges, including scarcity of audiologists and otolaryngologists, need for portable equipment, and lack of screening programs to identify affected children. I am currently leading a PCORI (Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute)-funded community randomized trial with the Norton Sound Health Corporation in Nome, Alaska to evaluate a new protocol for school hearing screening in 15 villages on the Bering Sea.  This study utilizes mobile health technology and telemedicine referral to identify previously undiagnosed hearing loss and efficiently connect Alaska Native children to care. The intervention has applicability across the state of Alaska, as well as in other remote, low-resource settings with a high prevalence of hearing loss and ear disease.

My research on treatment of hearing loss is focused on expanding access to cochlear implantation, a treatment for severe-to-profound hearing loss traditionally limited to high-resource settings. I have worked with collaborators in 14 countries to demonstrate that cochlear implantation can be a cost-effective treatment option in Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America. We are expanding these studies to other regions of the world. 

Selected Grants

Addressing Childhood Hearing Loss Disparities in an Alaska Native Population: A Community Randomized Trial (AD-1602-34571), PCORI

Research Training in Otolaryngology (5T32DC000027-25), NIDCD/NIH

Global Control of Micronutrient Deficiency (OPPGH 614), Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Collaborative Research on Nutrition (AID-OAA-L-1-00006), USAID

Appointments and Affiliations

  • Associate Professor of Head and Neck Surgery and Communication Sciences
  • Associate Research Professor of Global Health

Contact Information

  • Office Location: DUMC Box 3805, Durham, NC 27710
  • Office Phone: (919) 684-6968
  • Email Address: susan.emmett@duke.edu

Education

  • Johns Hopkins Unversity, Bloomberg School of Public Health, 2016
  • Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 2016
  • Howard Hughes Medical Institute, 2009
  • M.P.H. Johns Hopkins Unversity, Bloomberg School of Public Health, 2014
  • M.D. Duke University School of Medicine, 2010
  • A.B. Princeton University, 2005

Awards, Honors, and Distinctions

  • TED Fellowship. TED. 2017
  • Tilghman Traveling Fellowship. Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. 2016
  • Delta Omega. National Public Health Honor Society. 2015
  • Duane Sewell, MD Resident Award for Exemplary Professionalism and Humanitarianism. Johns Hopkins Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. 2015
  • Master of Public Health Capstone Award for Outstanding Achievement. Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. 2015
  • Resident Leadership Grant. American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. 2015
  • Resident Research Award. American Otological Society. 2015
  • James Harrill, MD Resident Research Award. Triological Society. 2014
  • Paul S. Lietman Global Travel Grant. Johns Hopkins Center for Global Health. 2013
  • Resident Leadership Grant. American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. 2012
  • Alpha Omega Alpha. Honor Medical Society. 2010
  • Dean’s Recognition Award. Duke University School of Medicine. 2010
  • William G. Anlyan Senior Scholarship. Duke University School of Medicine. 2009
  • Cum Laude. Princeton University. 2005
  • Molecular Biology Senior Thesis Prize. Princeton University. 2005

In the News

Representative Publications

  • Ficenec, SC; Percak, J; Arguello, S; Bays, A; Goba, A; Gbakie, M; Shaffer, JG; Emmett, SD; Schieffelin, JS; Bausch, D, Lassa fever-induced hearing loss: The neglected disability of hemorrhagic fever., Int J Infect Dis, vol 100 (2020), pp. 82-87 [10.1016/j.ijid.2020.08.021] [abs].
  • Yong, M; Liang, J; Ballreich, J; Lea, J; Westerberg, BD; Emmett, SD, Cost-effectiveness of School Hearing Screening Programs: A Scoping Review., Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery : Official Journal of American Academy of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery, vol 162 no. 6 (2020), pp. 826-838 [10.1177/0194599820913507] [abs].
  • Yong, M; Panth, N; McMahon, CM; Thorne, PR; Emmett, SD, How the World's Children Hear: A Narrative Review of School Hearing Screening Programs Globally., Oto Open, vol 4 no. 2 (2020) [10.1177/2473974X20923580] [abs].
  • Suen, JJ; Bhatnagar, K; Emmett, SD; Marrone, N; Kleindienst Robler, S; Swanepoel, DW; Wong, A; Nieman, CL, Hearing care across the life course provided in the community., Bull World Health Organ, vol 97 no. 10 (2019), pp. 681-690 [10.2471/BLT.18.227371] [abs].
  • Emmett, SD; Sudoko, CK; Tucci, DL; Gong, W; Saunders, JE; Global HEAR (Hearing Loss Evaluation, Advocacy, and Research) Collaborative:, ; Akhtar, N; Bhutta, MF; Touch, S; Pradhananga, RB; Mukhtar, N; Martinez, N; Martinez, FD; Ramos, H; Kameswaran, M; Kumar, RNS; Soekin, S; Prepageran, N, Expanding Access: Cost-effectiveness of Cochlear Implantation and Deaf Education in Asia., Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery : Official Journal of American Academy of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery, vol 161 no. 4 (2019), pp. 672-682 [10.1177/0194599819849917] [abs].