Research giants join forces for hearing impaired in Western Pacific Region

Hearing loss sufferers worldwide will reap the rewards of three globally recognised research brands with Ear Science Institute Australia, Curtin University and William Demant Foundation joining forces to establish a ‘Hearing Sciences’ joint venture.

The five-year enterprise in the brain and hearing space will be co-funded by the three participants and will focus on whether early treatment for hearing loss can prevent or slow down dementia, as well as developing new interventions to improve the lives of those with hearing loss.

The joint venture will include the establishment of a Lions Hearing Clinic on Curtin’s Perth campus and the allocation of two new Associate Professor roles in Ear Science Institute Australia – an Associate Professor of Brain and Hearing focussing on research into clinical science and surgical interventions and an Associate Professor of Hearing Therapeutics focussing on genetics and hearing.

Ear Science Institute Australia CEO Sandra Bellekom said it was exciting to see this ambitious international joint venture linking ESIA and Curtin University.

“Both our clinical and basic research continues to grow and for us, Curtin University is an ideal partner,” Ms Bellekom said.

“William Demant Foundation has a long history of funding research in the brain and hearing space and is excited to be a partner to support our growth to improve hearing health for all.”

Ear Science Institute Australia applied to William Demant Foundation for financial support for work in the brain and hearing space and was successful in receiving a financial commitment of $1.25 million AUD over five years.

The partnership with William Demant Foundation will further provide Ear Science Institute Australia and Curtin University with access to applied research expertise in hearing, cognition and signal processing from Oticon and Oticon Medical, an industry leader in hearing loss care and research.

Ear Science Institute Australia Chairman, John Schaffer said the ultimate aim of the partnership was to develop research that can be translated successfully into improved services for the community – translating science into tangible outcomes.

“This new initiative, together with our collaboration with other Western Australian universities and our recent success with Royal Perth Hospital Foundation, shows us all joining forces to make WA and the regions around us hearing heroes,” Mr Schaffer said.

Curtin University Faculty of Health Sciences Pro Vice-Chancellor Archie Clements said Curtin’s world-class research capability in medical and health sciences will be enhanced by the close partnership with the Ear Science Institute Australia and William Demant Foundation.

“This joint venture will help us to advance the understanding of the connection between the early treatment of hearing loss and the onset and prevention of dementia, building on our goal to establish a national centre of excellence in dementia research,” Professor Clements said.

“In collaboration with Ear Science Institute Australia, Curtin will also aim to develop new therapies to enhance the quality of life for hearing loss sufferers, contributing to our mission to undertake translational research with real-world impact.”