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Hear hear! Hearing research at the Bionics Institute gains traction

Maureen Hagan and her daughter Audrey who was part of a recent study using the Eargenie device to measure infant hearing with researchers Ishara Paranawithana (back left) and Colette McKay (back right). JUSTIN MCMANUS
November 22, 2023

“There’s this very small window of opportunity in the baby’s brain, where they have to have access to speech sounds. If a baby misses that opportunity to actually develop spoken language well, it affects their whole quality of life”

Foundation Alumni Professor Colette McKay has been in the news recently regarding her pioneering work in hearing health. Her aim to create an objective method for diagnosing hearing loss in infants has culminated in the EarGenie device, refined over the years to a simple ‘cap’ that sits on an infant’s head and emits red light to give an accurate reading on their hearing. Colette and engineer Dr. Darren Mao (2021 Junior Fellowship) alongside others at the Bionics Institute have teamed up with Jeffrey Ng to commercialise the device.

With early and accurate diagnosis of hearing loss, clinicians can offer parents informed options on what their child may need to ensure they’re able to develop speech communication skills. This may be a cochlear implant, hearing aid, or even a simple procedure.

Alongside Colette’s work is Associate Professor Rachael Richardson‘s work in optogenetics. Rachel is collaborating with Professor Stephen O’Leary to see if light stimulation of the hearing nerve can offer a better quality of sound for cochlear implant users as opposed to electrical stimulation.

Finally, Associate Professor Andrew Wise’s (2021 Senior Fellowship) is working on an overarching project to restore hearing, including work on using nanoparticles to deliver drugs safely and effectively to the inner ear.

We look forward to seeing more work of these incredible researchers being shared in the near future.

External link: Article via The Age

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