Annual Report 2011-12: HEARing now and future

CHAIRMAN AND CEO REPORT

Hearing loss affects one in six Australians, reducing their ability to communicate and in turn impacting on education, employment and relationships. For children, hearing is critical to development of auditory skills as well as speech and language - difficulty hearing often impacts on literacy and learning. HEARing CRC 2011-12 Annual Report

Our 2006 study Listen Hear! reported that hearing loss is the second most-prevalent disability in Australia and ranks with asthma and diabetes in terms of burden of disability; it should in fact be considered a national health priority.

Based on these daunting statistics, the HEARing Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) was established by the Commonwealth Government to find better ways of preventing hearing loss, and to improve approaches to remediation. We are working towards improved outcomes for adults and children with hearing loss, as well as exploring innovative service delivery options to improve access, in particular for Australians in rural and remote locales.

In its first five years, the HEARing CRC has made some genuinely significant achievements. For example all of Australian Hearing’s paediatric clinics are now equipped with CRC-developed HEARLab® which is being used in association with its first test module, Aided Cortical Assessment (ACA). This module enables rapid, reliable assessment of infants’ capacity to hear speech sounds, even when they are not able to respond verbally. Licenced to USA-based Frye Electronics, HEARLab® and ACA are increasingly being used in Europe and Asia, with release in the USA pending FDA approval.

NAL-NL2 is a further success: it is a complex hearing aid fitting algorithm now licenced to all major hearing aid companies and used as one of two international standards to fit hearing aids.Siemens’ new Trainable Hearing Aid is also based on HEARing CRC technology. An exclusive licence enabled Siemens to be first-to-market with a product that enables the user themselves to fine tune hearing devices to meet their individual needs and preferences.These achievements underscore the HEARing CRC’s focus on developing technology that meets both industry and clinical service needs, ultimately benefitting end-users and generating revenue for Australia.  

This report focuses on our achievements over the 2011-12 year, as well as reflecting on our growing momentum. We are pleased to report the realisation of some ambitious goals in developing quality products and services for industry and clinical use.  Accomplishments have been recognised by a number of awards received by the CRC and its staff this year, all focused on collaboration, education and commercialisation, the very heart of the organisation.

HEARing CRC outcomes also continue the high profile of Australian hearing research on the world stage, and return commercial revenues to the Centre to be re-invested in new, emerging research opportunities.This success is testimony not only to the skilled research staff employed through our Members, but also to the governance and management of this multiparty, multidisciplinary collaboration.   

The HEARing CRC Board and management have been required to address the challenges of a difficult financial environment and an uncertain future, while ensuring that the CRC continues to grow as a confident and mature organisation with a sharp strategic focus.We would like to acknowledge the contribution of all of our Directors, of our Members for their ongoing support and of our staff for their commitment. We also particularly thank the adults, children and their families, who give so generously of their time to participate in our research.

MR RICHARD SEARBY AO QC
CHAIRMAN

ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR ROBERT COWAN
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

The HEARing CRC Annual Report 2011/12: HEARing now and future is available for download below. The HEARing CRC 2011-12 Financial Statements are also available for download. please contact us if you would like to receive either or both of these in hard copy.