The Johns Hopkins Vestibular Neuroengineering Lab Mission: 
Restore balance and steady vision to individuals disabled by chronic dizziness due to bilateral loss of inner ear sensation

NEWS FLASH: Two clinical trials are now open and actively recruiting at VNEL:

Are you looking for information about our NIH-funded clinical trial of the Labyrinth Devices Vestibular Implant Systemclick here 


The inner ear measures how your head is oriented and how it’s moving. That information drives reflexes that keep you from falling and keep your vision steady. Without it, you feel wobbly and the world seems to drift whenever you move your head. For tens of thousands of people who suffer from severe loss of inner ear sensation due to gentamicin ototoxicity, genetic defects, other drug reactions, Ménière’s disease, infection or other inner ear diseases, a new experimental implant based on technology developed in the Johns Hopkins Vestibular NeuroEngineering Lab may alleviate symptoms of the balance disorder, including chronic disequilibrium and difficulty seeing while walking or driving. 

VNEL's research is broad, but is centered on creating and testing increasingly sophisticated versions of the Johns Hopkins Multichannel Vestibular Prosthesis (also known as the Vestibular Implant), which senses head motion and conveys that information to the brain by electrically stimulating the vestibular nerve. The device is very similar to a cochlear implant. (In fact, although the device being studied in this trial is dedicated entirely to the vestibular part of the ear, cochlear electrodes could be included in future versions to also stimulate the cochlea if the ear being implanted is deaf.). In animal trials, we have shown that the device effectively mimics the workings of the inner ear, partially restoring reflexes help maintain steady vision and stable posture. In late 2015, the FDA granted permission to start VNEL's clinical trial of a system based on this technology, and as of April 2016, the trial is actively recruiting, with the goal of testing whether this technology helps to restore balance and more stable vision to individuals disabled by chronic loss of vestibular sensation. Read more about the vestibular implant trial, including how to participate.
In parallel with our work on vestibular implant development, we are also one of three sites in the world's first human inner ear gene therapy trial. The goal of this study is to assess the safety, tolerability and effectiveness of CGF166, an experimental gene therapy intended to create new hair cells - and therefore improve hearing and/or balance sensation - after injection into the inner ear. Read more about the CGF166 inner ear gene therapy trial, including how to participate.













Charley C. Della Santina MD PhD

Director, Vestibular NeuroEngineering Lab

The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine

Baltimore, Maryland