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Postdoctoral Researcher opportunity in Magnetoencephalography

An exciting opportunity exists at Macquarie University for a postdoctoral researcher to develop and use the magnetoencephalographic (MEG) system to investigate brain responses in adults and children with a unilateral cochlear implant (MEG III). The successful candidate will participate in research projects developing and assessing new noise reduction techniques for MEG III measurements; and planning and implementing research studies investigating the nature and trajectory of brain changes following cochlear implantation.

The MEG III system is located in the KIT-Macquarie Brain Research Laboratory, a state-of-the-art MEG facility housed in the Australian Hearing Hub on the Macquarie University campus, and co-located with Cochlear, the National Acoustic Laboratories (NAL) and the ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders. Comprising three MEG systems for non-invasive imaging of human brain function, the KIT-Macquarie Laboratory is home to the first MEG system in the Southern Hemisphere, the first paediatric MEG system in the world, and now, with MEG III, a world-first system for measuring auditory and linguistic brain functions in cochlear implant users.

The role is funded through the HEARing Cooperative Research Centre (CRC), a partnership of clinicians, researchers and commercial partners working to improve the hearing health of Australians. The successful applicant will work in close collaboration with researchers from the Audiology section within the Department of Linguistics and Cochlear – the leading manufacturer of cochlear implants.

For more information on this job opportunity, see the Macquarie University website.

2 PhD scholarships at Macquarie University – apply now!

The HEARing Cooperative Research Centre is offering two PhD scholarships to undertake research focused on:

  1. Hearing Aids and music (supervised by Adj Prof Harvey Dillon and Dr Jorg Buchholz) – closing date 30th October 2015
  2. Applying virtual sound environments to measure and improve the performance of Cochlear Implants in the real world (supervised by Dr Jorg Buchholz) – closing date 15th October 2015.
More information about (1) Hearing aids and Music:

Currently, hearing aids are adjusted to compensate for individual hearing loss primarily to maximise the clarity and comfort of speech. Music has acoustic properties that differ greatly from speech, and this has led to so-called “music programs” for hearing aids. However, there are large variations of acoustic properties between, and probably within, music genres. Modern hearing aids now have sufficient processing power to not only recognise when music is present, but also to analyse its temporal and spectral characteristics and to adjust the hearing aid amplification characteristics accordingly.

This research, to be conducted at the National Acoustic Laboratories at the Australian Hearing Hub, will involve experiments to determine how the acoustic characteristics of music vary in ways that might affect optimal amplification, determine what amplification characteristics are preferred by hearing impaired people for each style of music (e.g. degree and rate of amplitude compression, relative gain given to different frequency regions), and whether there are any existing signal processing features (e.g. feedback cancellation, noise suppression) within hearing aids that are not conducive to the greatest enjoyment of music by their wearers.

The project would suit an engineer with an interest in the human perception of sound. It might also be undertaken by an audiologist with a flair for the technical aspects of audiology. An interest in music would also be helpful.

More information about (2) Applying virtual sound environments to measure and improve the performance of cochlear implants in the real world:

It is very difficult for cochlear implant recipients to understand speech in complex conditions, where room reverberation and multiple sound sources interfere with the speech signal of interest. To date, researchers have had limited success in developing signal processing techniques that objectively improve speech understanding under such severe conditions. Even though many of the proposed algorithms have demonstrated benefits in basic laboratory settings, outcomes in the real world do not necessarily match up. This is, at least in part, due to a lack of ecological relevance (or realism) of both the acoustic environments as well as the listeners’ tasks used in the laboratory.

This PhD project will first establish a research environment that combines the loudspeaker-based, 3D sound environment available at the National Acoustic Laboratories with a fully-programmable, real-time cochlear implant research platform. The resulting research environment will then be used to better understand the limitations of the signal processing strategies that are applied in current cochlear implants to improve speech intelligibility in reverberant multi-source conditions. Based on the research outcomes, novel signal processing strategies that take advantage of the different signals arriving at the two ears will be developed and tested.

The ideal candidate will be an Engineer with an experience and/or strong interest in hearing devices as well as 3D sound reproduction. The PhD student will be located and supervised at the National Acoustic Laboratories, Australian Hearing Hub, Macquarie University, and will be part of a multi-disciplinary group of researchers and PhD students. The project will be carried out in close collaboration with Cochlear Ltd.

Scholarship rate:

The HEARing CRC offers a PhD scholarship valued at the standard APA rate of $25,849 per annum (2015 rate), indexed annually and tax exempt, for up to 3 years.

How to apply:

Prospective PhD applicants should have completed the equivalent of Macquarie University’s Master of Research (MRes) degree, MPhil or other 2 year Masters degree with a major research component with excellent results. Refer to the HDR Entry Criteria for more information about this.

Interested applicants should forward a letter of interest and their CV to jorg.buchholz@nal.gov.au.

Applicants will also need to complete a Macquarie University HDR Candidature and Scholarship Application form and arrange for two academic referee reports to be submitted to the Higher Degree Research Office. Refer to: http://www.hdr.mq.edu.au/information_about/applications for further application instructions. Macquarie University will advise the successful applicant of entitlements at the time of scholarship offer. Please quote the scholarship application code ‘Hearing CRC’ on your application.

Research Project Coordinator Position Available (Maternity Leave)

hearnetCRCThe HEARing Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) is currently seeking a Research Project Coordinator to fill a position that has recently become available.

We are looking for applicants who can use their research and management skills, and experience to maintain the HEARing CRC’s position as a leader in its fields of hearing science and technology innovation.

For more information about this opportunity, go here.

HEARing CRC PhD Scholarships Available

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Do you want to be part of shaping the future of audiology in Australia?

We are seeking highly motivated PhD Scholars to be part of an exciting team committed to improving outcomes for people with hearing loss. The program of research will focus on the development, implementation, and evaluation of a patient/family-centred hearing rehabilitation intervention.

A number of scholarships are available in areas pertaining to:

  1. Development of best-practice guidelines for patient-centric rehabilitation in people with hearing loss; and
  2. Improving hearing healthcare access and outcomes for people with hearing loss.

These projects can be applied to either children or adults with hearing loss, to best suit the experience and interests of the applicant.

The successful scholar will be based at either:

The successful scholars will be under the supervision of HEARing CRC researchers and work in a research team led by Professor Louise Hickson. The scholar will be expected to engage with post-doctoral fellows and other research higher degree students within the School.

The Person

Applicants should have a primary Honours degree qualification (Honours Class 1 or Class 2A) OR a Master’s degree in a relevant professional area (e.g., Audiology, Speech Pathology or Psychology).

Inquiries and Information

To express interest and for further information, please contact:
Dr Carly Meyer for the University of Queensland or go here
Dr Caitlin Grenness for the of University of Melbourne.

Closing Date

Applications close on the 17th of July, 2015.

2015 IRC Research Grants closing soon

The Hearing Induirclogo4stry Research Consortium (IRC) is currently seeking innovative research proposals that can improve service quality and client management for hearing-impaired people.

For the 2015 grant round, the IRC wishes to hear from researchers who are collecting and analysing large-scale datasets that are likely to provide new insights into the relationships between clinical practice, patients and patient populations.

Research project proposals that involve partnerships between audiological specialists and researchers from other health and science fields will be viewed favorably.

If that sounds like a good match to your current research area or direction, please go to the IRC website and find out more. The deadline for proposal submissions is 17th August 2015 so don’t delay.

The IRC was created by the global leaders in hearing aid technology to develop and direct non-competitive, mutually-agreed research agendas that provide broad benefits to the wider hearing aid industry, its customers and their family and friends.

2 PhD Scholarships at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science – apply now!

Understanding electro-protein-cellular interactions

The HEARing Cooperative Research Centre is offering two PhD scholarships  in association with the ARC Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science at the University of Wollongong, to undertake research focused on:
1) Using EQCM to understand electrode-protein-cellular interactions
2) Using BioAFM to understand electrode-protein-cellular interactions

Cochlear Implants have been changing the lives of people with sever to profound hearing loss for over 30 years. The field has changed in sound processing and implant design leading to marked improvement in speech perception over this time. However we are still unaware of exactly how electrical stimulation alters the cells and proteins that attach to the electrodes.

Two PhDs project s will assess this problem, one using Electrochemical Quartz Crystal Microbalance (EQCM) and the other Biomedical Atomic Force Microscopy (BioAFM).


Find out more about this area of research at the Characterising Electrode materials and processes workshop at the Royal Eye and Ear Hospital in Melbourne on October 7th 2015.


For more information or to discuss these opportunities please contact Prof Gordon Wallace: gwallace@uow.edu.au

Closing date: 30th October 2015

Australian study leads the way in improving outcomes of infants with hearing loss

Now into its 11th year, the Longitudinal Outcomes of Children with Hearing Impairment (LOCHI) study has revealed that infants detected with hearing loss and fitted with hearing aids soon after birth develop better spoken language abilities at 5 years of age than those whose hearing loss was discovered later. Infants who receive cochlear implants before 12 months of age develop better language than those who receive a cochlear implant at a later age.

These research outcomes put into action the World Health Organisation’s International Ear Care Day Theme for 2016: Childhood Hearing loss: act now, here is how!

The LOCHI study, a joint endeavor of the National Acoustic Laboratories and the HEARing Cooperative Research Centre (HEARing CRC) is led by NAL’s Dr Teresa Ching, and is facilitated by the CRC’s multiple service organisations across Australia participating in the research.

HEARing CRC CEO Professor Robert Cowan said that more than 400 children with hearing loss were initially assessed at six and 12-months after the switch-on of a hearing device, and then again at three, five, and nine years of age. He said we expect to assess them again at 15 and 22 years of age.

“These assessments of speech, language and functional skills are non-invasive, and take about two to four hours to complete. In addition, parents, caregivers and teachers are also asked to fill out questionnaires and report on the child’s developmental progress,” Prof. Cowan explained, “It’s a bit like the ‘Up Series’ documentaries for hearing device fitting in children!”

Research evidence from the LOCHI study reveals how our management of hearing loss in newborns can make a substantial difference to what they can achieve.

It is clear that early detection and early fitting of hearing technology to infants with hearing loss is beneficial for spoken language and psychosocial development over the first 5 years of life.

The LOCHI study has allowed information of this kind to be collected at a population level in a prospective manner for the first time. The evidence has been instrumental in shaping the national paediatric clinical program of Australian Hearing, the national provider of audiological services for children, in managing childhood hearing loss in Australia, and has contributed to guidelines for paediatric amplification internationally.

“We have already translated the evidence on the efficacy of early detection and early provision of hearing technology into clinical practice,”

“The same research outcomes are also playing a valuable role in guiding clinicians’ counsel for families with children who have been recently diagnosed with hearing loss.” Prof. Cowan said.

Long-term follow-up of the LOCHI cohort also revealed that many children had marked deficits in specific pre-reading skills. This finding highlighted the need for research into intervention methods within an evidence-based framework, with the ultimate goal of capitalising on the opportunity of early detection and fitting to enable children born with hearing loss to reach their full potential.

For more information about the LOCHI study go here: outcomes.nal.gov.au

The HEARing Cooperative Research Centre is financially supported by the Cooperative Research Centres (CRC) Programme. Further information about the CRC Programme is available at: www.business.gov.au.

For further information contact: Greg Lawrence, Online Communications Manager

e: glawrence@hearingcrc.org, t: (03) 9035 5351, mob: 0431 426 623



Job Position: Research Assistant (eHealth)

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The HEARing CRC and The University of Queensland’s School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences are seeking a highly motivated Research Assistant to be part of an exciting team committed to improving outcomes for people with hearing loss.

The role will involve assisting investigators in research projects related to the development, implementation and evaluation of a family-centred approach to delivering hearing healthcare to people with hearing loss and their family via eHealth.

The applicant will be involved in a range of tasks associated with the studies including participant recruitment, research protocol design and implementation, data collection (qualitative and quantitative) and data analysis.

You can find out more about this role here, including a downloadable position description.

Please note, applications for this position closes on 13 April 2016 (11:55pm  Eastern Australia Standard Time).

Registrations Now Open For The 2016 World Congress of Audiology

6 April 2016

2101WCAEarly bird registrations are now open for the 33rd World Congress of Audiology (WCA) .

Delegates can register online here.

International Society of Audiology, Canadian Academy of Audiology or Speech-Language and Audiology Canada members are entitled to preferential rates. Due to Canada’s current low foreign exchange rate, congress fees are economical for international delegates.

The WCA2016 will feature speakers from around the world, covering the latest topics in audiology research and practice.

Early bird registration deadline closes on May 31, 2016.

New research suggests self-fitting hearing aids have a positive role to play in developing countries

3 May 2016

self-fitting hearing aids

A new range of self-fitting hearing aids has the potential to meet the growing need for hearing technologies in developing countries and remote locations in the developed world.

The Hearing Cooperative Research Centre (HEARing CRC) and its Member, the National Acoustic Laboratories (NAL), have recently studied the developments of this new technology to provide new insights that will help clinicians make better decisions about the best ways to use them.

The results of this research were summarised in a research paper published last week by Dr Gitte Keidser and Elizabeth Convery called Self-Fitting Hearing Aids – Status Quo and Future Predictions.

A new range of self-fitting hearing aids has the potential to meet the growing need for hearing technologies in developing countries and remote locations in the developed world.

The Hearing Cooperative Research Centre (HEARing CRC) and its Member, the National Acoustic Laboratories (NAL), have recently studied the developments of this new technology to provide new insights that will help clinicians make better decisions about the best ways to use them.

The results of this research were summarised in a research paper published last week by Dr Gitte Keidser and Elizabeth Convery called Self-Fitting Hearing Aids – Status Quo and Future Predictions.

Self-fitting hearing aids have recently become available through unregulated, direct-to-consumer market in developed countries and the focus of HEARing CRC and NAL research aimed at understanding their manageability by clinicians and comparing their performance to professionally fitted hearing aids.

Predominantly positive findings highlighted in the paper suggest that self-fitting hearing aids when paired with teleaudiology (the provision of hearing services over the internet) could deliver these services to people who can’t access or afford the traditional methods.

“Self-fitting devices are now accessible in the marketplace and the product range is set to grow. Our research has identified the expectations of these devices to ensure good hearing outcomes are delivered to patients, and is currently investigating who can manage them without, or with limited, support,” Dr Keidser explained.

“There are challenges ahead and we believe there will be a significant and potentially rapid growth in self-fitting health related products following on from wearable technologies (such as fitbits).”

In the future, low-cost hearing aids are likely to consist of earpieces that connect wirelessly with smartphones, with health providers offering assistance through traditional face-to-face appointments with audiologists or through a tele-health infrastructure.

“If self-fitting hearing aids can be produced and distributed in such a way they are both affordable and the approach is sustainable, this type of device could offer the potential to meet the growing demand for hearing technologies in developing countries, as well as the more remote locations in the developed world,” Dr Keidser said.

The World Health Organisation estimates that 60 million people worldwide have disabling hearing loss, with the majority located in low- and middle-income countries. Hearing loss is more common as people age and figures show that one-third of people over 65 years old are affected by hearing loss, with prevalence greatest in South Asia, Asia-Pacific and sub-Saharan Africa.


Help wanted to better understand how eHealth can be used to address the communication needs of adults with hearing loss

hearing loss and communicationHow can information and communication technologies meet the hearing and communication needs of adults with hearing loss and their families and friends?

The University of Queensland, in collaboration with the HEARing Cooperative Research Centre, is conducting a research project to explore how hearing services could be improved through the adoption of eHealth.

If you would like to participate, you will be asked to:

  1. complete a short survey about your experiences with using information and communication technologies to support your services with adult clients with hearing loss; and
  2. brainstorm ways in which these technologies could be used to better meet the hearing and communication needs of adults with hearing loss and their families and friends.

Both activities can be done online at a time and place that suits you! People who complete the study will be entered into a draw to win a $100 Coles Myer gift voucher.

For more information on how you can be involved, please email  Carly Meyer  or phone: (07) 3365 8547.

To register your interest and to complete the short survey follow the links below based on how you are affected by hearing loss:


HEARing CRC welcomes Dr Katherine Woodthorpe as its new Chair

Catherine Woodthorpe The Board of the HEARing Cooperative Research Centre (HEARing CRC) is delighted to announce the appointment of Dr Katherine Woodthorpe (pictured right) as its new Chair.

Dr Woodthorpe brings to the HEARing CRC a wealth of experience having served for almost 20 years as a chair or director on boards in government, listed entities and not-for-profits, including several Cooperative Research Centres.

HEARing CRC CEO Prof. Robert Cowan said the appointment was made following a comprehensive search by the Board of Directors.

“Katherine brings a wealth of governance, industry and commercial experience and acumen to the role of Chair, and we look forward to working with her over the coming years,” Prof. Cowan said.

Dr Woodthorpe is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and the Academy of Technology and Engineering. She holds a PhD in Chemistry (Manchester) and an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Technology Sydney.

She has a strong track record of achieving outcomes in a range of technology-oriented industries, including medical devices and health services, and also a deep knowledge of private equity and the financial sector.

“In 2013, Katherine was cited by the Australian Financial Review as one of the 100 Women of Influence for her active roles in innovation. I have no doubt that she will provide leadership and experience to the HEARing CRC Board and its Management as it focuses on translation and commercialization of research and educational outcomes,” Prof. Cowan said.

Dr Woodthorpe succeeds Dr Richard Searby AO QC as Chair.

“During his time as Chair, Richard made a wonderful and valuable contribution to the HEARing CRC, ensuring high standards of corporate governance, and most recently assisting us with gaining of our extension funding with the CRC Programme.”

HEARing CRC is seeking an Independent Director for its Board

hearnetCRCThe HEARing CRC is seeking to appoint an experienced Independent Director to complement the Board’s skill set in leading the organisation through the remaining three years of its current five-year extension under the Commonwealth Government Cooperative Research Centre’s Programme (ending June 2019), and to position the consortium for its future beyond the end of its current funding cycle

  • Circa $25k per annum
  • Location: Melbourne or Sydney preferred.

This role will allow you to use your leadership and governance skills to position the HEARing CRC as a leader in its field.

You will be working with individuals who are passionate about improving the quality of life for hearing-impaired adults and children, through innovation.  We are inviting candidates to apply, who are keen to make a difference and be rewarded for their valuable contribution.

Who we are

The HEARing Cooperative Research Centre (HEARing CRC) focuses an internationally unique, interdisciplinary consortium of research, clinical, industry and educational organisations on the twin challenges of more effective prevention and improved remediation of hearing loss.  Its 21 Member organisations each contribute specific expertise and infrastructure to the strategic program of activities.  Members of the HEARing CRC are located in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, and comprise a range of organisations with expertise in research and/or clinical service delivery to the hearing impaired.

The HEARing CRC Board of Directors is accountable to the Commonwealth and its Members for all governance, management and business affairs.  The Board and its Committees meet quarterly and are responsible for setting strategic goals and objectives, as well as overseeing management performance.

The successful candidate will have:

  • Established commercial and business acumen and experience in a corporate or not for profit environment;
  • Proven ability and track record as a Director
  • Good knowledge and demonstrated experience in philanthropic and fundraising activities; and
  • Independence of any of the Member organisations of The HEARing CRC.

For further key attributes, a full position description is available on request, from:

Ms Amanda Campbell, Board Secretary, HEARing CRC Ltd

To apply, please email: enquiry@hearingcrc.org

Closing date: Monday, 29 August 2016

HEARing CRC researchers develop new tests to accurately diagnose children with listening difficulties

Health professionals working with children with listening difficulties can now more accurately diagnose Auditory Processing Disorders using a new collection of tests supported by HEARing CRC research.

As many as one in ten children in Australia may have an Auditory Processing Disorder (APD), an umbrella term that describes a variety of disorders affecting hearing and listening.  A child with APD can have normal hearing thresholds but still experience listening difficulties, particularly in noisy environments such as the school classroom or playground.   If left untreated, or misdiagnosed, it can impact on a child’s ability to learn – particularly in the classroom.

Studies by HEARing Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) researcher Dr Dani Tomlin at The University of Melbourne have allowed a better understanding of the variety of difficulties that children with APD experience, especially with listening and learning.

APD is usually diagnosed by a hearing health professional known as an audiologist who uses a test battery of listening tasks to measure a child’s listening skills.  “An important outcome of our study has been the inclusion of more specific tests in the APD diagnosis test battery.  These tests assess a child’s attention, memory and intelligence, as well as their ability to understand and use language,” Dr Tomlin explained.

“These are very important additions, as health professionals need to be careful so as not to confuse APD with other attention, behavioural, hearing and language disorders such as Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) that can show similar symptoms.”

The use of attention and memory tests along with more accurate data to better identify the causes of the child’s listening difficulty will now be added to APD test batteries in hearing clinics throughout Australia. The addition of the new tests will result in improved diagnosis and remediation of children with listening deficits, allowing them to continue with their learning and education.

“While this is a great outcome for parents with children who have APD, the next step for us is to develop new training programs that specifically target the primary causes of listening difficulties identified by the updated APD test battery,” Dr Tomlin explained.

“These programs will focus on improving a child’s listening and academic ability, and determining if targeting their cognitive abilities and/or listening skills is the most effective approach to treating APD.”

The use of age-specific, Australian data available to all health professionals played an important part in deciding which tests can be used to diagnose APD, particularly ones closely aligned to the real-life problems. The use of cognitive tests has also greatly improved the ability of health professionals to more accurately determine the primary cause of a child’s listening difficulties.

“Listening is a very complex behaviour, involving many skills, and we still need to improve our ability to identify those at risk, and to identify why, before learning becomes affected. It is very likely there are specific skills that we have not yet identified, or are able to measure which may have a significant contribution to listening ability. The challenge for us is to work out what they are,” Dr Tomlin said.

“Tomorrow’s classrooms are likely to continue to be large, interactive, busy, noisy spaces that will continue to challenge the listening ability of many children, which will need to be balanced by a demand from the community to provide spaces that promote optimal learning. So there is going to be an ongoing need for the accurate diagnosis and management of APD to help achieve this balance.”

Media Contact: Greg Lawrence, Marketing Manager, e: glawrence@hearingcrc.org, t: (03) 9035 5351, mob: 0431 426 623

New research shows feasibility of drug-releasing electrodes in cochlear implants

Promising results have been reported from a world-first study of cochlear implant electrodes designed to not only stimulate hearing nerves but also to slowly release drugs into the inner ear.

HEARing Cooperative Research Centre (HEARing CRC) CEO Professor Robert Cowan said research using an electrode array (pictured right) that slowly releases anti-inflammatory drugs into the cochlea following cochlear implantation could lead to future benefits for cochlear implant users.

“The beauty of this approach is that it is based on use of the standard cochlear implant electrode array inserted into the inner ear that delivers sound sensations to the brain via the electrical stimulation of hearing nerve cells,” Prof. Cowan said.  “Research with our partners at the University of Wollongong’s ARC Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science had confirmed the feasibility of using a passive diffusion of drug from the electrode surface as a means of drug delivery to the cochlea over an extended period of up to 4-6 weeks.

“Based on this work, the cochlear implant electrode array used in the research study was modified to slowly release a cortico-steroid after implantation.  This drug is intended to reduce inflammation and the growth of fibrous tissue around the electrode array triggered by the body’s immune response.”

After completing extensive biosafety, surgical and pharmokinetic studies, HEARing CRC researchers progressed to a study of the experimental electrode in ten adult patients, eight at the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital in Melbourne (RVEEH) and two at the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children – Sydney Cochlear Implant Clinic (SCIC).  ENT surgeons Professor Rob Briggs and Professor Catherine Birman reported no compromise in surgical insertion characteristics with the experimental array.  Initial results confirm lower electrical impedance levels for the drug-eluting array patients, as compared with control groups from both clinics.  Impedance levels continue to remain lower 12 months post-implantation.

“The suppression of the inflammatory reaction in the cochlea following electrode insertion is likely responsible for these lower impedance levels and may potentially contribute to preservation of an implant user’s residual hearing abilities when combined with slimmer electrode designs and newer surgical techniques,” Prof. Cowan explained.

“Hearing preservation is important, as many candidates for cochlear implants have significant residual acoustic hearing, and want to be assured that they can use their residual acoustic hearing together with their cochlear implants.  Our hope is that this breakthrough will result in more people now considering cochlear implants as a viable way to manage their hearing loss”.

“This drug-eluting electrode research has been made possible through the collaboration of Cochlear, the RVEEH, the RIDBC-SCIC, University of Melbourne and University of Wollongong as members of the HEARing CRC, supported through the Commonwealth Governments CRC Programme Prof. Cowan stated.

“The HEARing CRC collaboration has contributed to commercial cochlear implant technologies that are now in world-wide use, as well as fitting technologies for both cochlear implants and hearing aids, helping to maintain Australia’s preeminent international standing in hearing research and service delivery.”

Further information contact: Greg Lawrence, Marketing Manager e: glawrence@hearingcrc.org, t: (03) 9035 5351, mob: 0431 426 623

Innovation and Science Chair Bill Ferris visits HEARing CRC’s Melbourne Headquarters


Research and Science Australia Chair Bill Ferris (right) listening to the HEARing CRC’s binaural beamformer technology during a recent visit to its Head Office at The University of Melbourne with Dr Richard van Hoesel (left).

In late August, the HEARing CRC hosted a Cooperative Research Centre Association (CRCA) meeting to introduce the Chair of Innovation and Science Australia, Bill Ferris AC.

CRCA CEO, Tony Peacock and CRCA Chair, The Honorable Tony Staley, invited Bill Ferris and Joanna Bunting (Department of Innovation and Science) to Melbourne to discuss the current research priorities of Melbourne-based Cooperative Research Centres, including:

  • Polymers CRC, presented by Ian Dagley (CEO)
  • Innovative Manufacturing CRC, presented by David Chuter (CEO)
  • Spatial Information CRC, presented by Dr Peter Woodgate (CEO)
  • Mental Health CRC, presented by Professor Ian Cooke (CEO)
  • Cancer Therapeutics CRC, presented by Ian Street (Chief Scientific Officer).

Following these presentations, Professor Robert Cowan gave interested members of the CRCA delegation a tour of the HEARing CRC’s Melbourne Head Office. This tour provided an opportunity to demonstrate and discuss some the HEARing CRC’s recent research activities, including:

Announced in November 2015, Innovation and Science Australia is part of the Government’s National Innovation and Science Agenda with the responsibility of providing strategic whole-of-government advice to the Government on all science, research and innovation matters. The Innovation and Science Australia Board complements the Commonwealth Science Council.

HEARing CRC’s cochlear implant research showcased in International Journal of Audiology Special Supplement

Australian cochlear implant research has been showcased in a special supplement in the latest edition of the International Journal of Audiology (IJA).

isaThis rare special issue supplement summarises two decades of research conducted by the HEARing Cooperative Research Centre (CRC), The University of Melbourne and the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital. It draws together an incredible evidence-base dating from the very first multichannel cochlear implants in the early 1980’s, and is intended to help hearing clinicians get the best possible outcomes for their cochlear implant patients.

Edited by highly experienced researchers Professor Richard Dowell, Dr Karyn Galvin and Professor Robert Cowan, the supplement features a collection of peer-reviewed clinical papers specifically written to provide an evidence-base to help clinicians make informed decisions about their clients’ suitability for cochlear implantation.

HEARing CRC CEO Professor Cowan said our aim in this special issue was to share our insights gained from systematic, long-term clinical studies of a large cochlear implant population.

“In particular, we wanted to provide audiologists and clinicians with new insights into the barriers and facilitators to successful cochlear implantation in light of how much candidacy has expanded in recent years,” Prof. Cowan said.

“This supplement presents the latest evidence-based, decision-making approaches in recommending cochlear implants to specific adult and paediatric users, as well as focusing on how hearing health professionals can optimise the long-term hearing outcomes for implant users in specific client populations.”

“The IJA Supplement should really be viewed as a valuable resource for clinicians wanting to gain a better understanding of a technology that has a widening application in hearing loss remediation.”

Through Cochlear Limited’s strong commitment to ongoing research and development, cochlear implant technology has steadily evolved, leading to an exponential increase in the number of infants, children, adults and the elderly who can benefit from it. Clinicians have been faced with an expanded range of cochlear implant technology as well as far broader criteria for candidature.

This special issue supplement provides evidence-based insight and analysis of actual patient outcomes to guide clinicians and candidates in making informed choices about benefits from a cochlear implant.

Interested researchers and clinicians can download a copy of the International Journal of Audiology’s Supplement 2, 2016, Cochlear Implantation: Optimizing Outcomes Through Evidence-based Clinical Decisions the IJA on-line, or contact The HEARing CRC directly.

The HEARing CRC is an internationally unique, interdisciplinary collaboration of research, clinical, industry and educational organisations on the twin challenges of more effective prevention and improved remediation of hearing loss. Building on more than two decades of internationally competitive research and innovation, the work of the HEARing CRC is driven by the end-user, for the end-user.

Post Graduate Neuroscience Visiting Scholarships Now Available (Ear Science Institute of Australia)

Ear Science InstituteIf you are an early-career scientist who sees success, authenticity and excellence as being integral to your career development, then the ESIA would like to hear from you.

The Ear Science Institute of Australia (ESIA) is seeking bright, energetic and self-motivated researchers with excellent post-graduate research, writing and oral presentation skills, and a track record of excellence and innovation to help them solve global hearing problems.

The scholarship opportunities on offer are:

  • Short one- or two-week visits by post-graduate students in the final year of their project or those recently graduated with a PhD; and
  • Longer term four to 12 week visits by post-doctoral fellowships.

Please note these scholarships cover flights to Perth, Western Australia, accommodation and living costs.

Go here to find out more about these great opportunity to take your career to the next level.

HEARing CRC receives NSW government funding to create auditory cortical discrimination hearing test

mdfThe HEARing CRC is one of four successful organisations to receive grants from the 2016 round of the New South Wales Government’s Medical Device Fund (MDF).

Through its commercial arm, HEARworks Ltd, the HEARing CRC will use a $750,000 MDF Grant to develop an Auditory Cortical Discrimination (ACORD) test to assist clinicians in deciding which hearing‐impaired infants should receive cochlear implants.

The ACORD test module, to be implemented into the HEARLab® platform, is a world-first tool that will change clinical management for infants identified with hearing loss through newborn hearing screening programs.

Once implemented, the ACORD test will provide objective evidence at the critical earliest possible age to assist clinicians in making recommendations to parents as to whether their hearing-impaired infants will develop the best language abilities through either use of hearing aids or receiving cochlear implants.

MDF grants help develop new medical devices and deliver hope for people with a range of medical ailments by funding competitive technology development and commercialisation programs that:

  • Provide support to individuals, companies, public and private hospitals, medical research institutes, universities and the medical devices industry, to take local innovation to market; and
  • Increase the uptake of NSW medical devices by the health system where they are cost effective and contribute to improved patient outcomes.
Since the first round in 2013, the MDF has helped multiple companies establish successful products, including Saluda Medical, which received $5 million and is about to celebrate the 12-month anniversary of its first pain relief device being implanted in an NSW patient.

The NSW Government annually invests more than $8 million in the MDF. For more information on the recipients of the 2016 MDF go here.

PhD Students showcase research at HEARing CRC Training Day


In late-October this year, the HEARing CRC held its 2016 PhD training/professional development day as part of the wider HEARing CRC Symposium at the Australian Hearing Hub, Macquarie University.

The day provided a great opportunity for our new cohort of PhD students to come together from four universities across Australia (Macquarie University, The University of Melbourne, Western Sydney University and The University of Queensland) for the first time. The day focused on presentation skills but was structured to enable participants to learn more about one another’s research and to foster new friendships and collaborations.

Providing a modern communication perspective on the student’s development was Sandy MacDonald – an online-business marketer, TEDx presenter and professional communicator. Throughout the day Sandy, and her husband Roger (a journalist, editor and poet), led in-depth sessions around engaging communication, interspersed with small group activities.

The day culminated with each student delivering a three-minute pitch to the group, without any presentation aid, that introduced the topic of their research and its importance. These talks were truly excellent and revealed each student’s expertise and enthusiasm for their subject matter, as well as providing some exclusive insights into their often preliminary research results.

The following day, the student’s presented visual summaries of their PhD research at the CRC Symposium’s lunchtime poster session. During the session, the students were available to discuss their research with the symposium attendees, including project leaders, key scientists and special guests.

Two prizes were awarded for the posters – attendees voted for a People’s Prize, won by Heivet Hernandez-Perez from Macquarie University and an Expert Panel (Bob Cowan, Harvey Dillon, Lisa Norden and Dani Tomlin) selected Samantha Tai from the University of Melbourne as their winner. Voting was very tight and everyone agreed the standard was excellent. Both Samantha and Hievet received a $150 voucher each from the CRC, which they can spend on attending a national conference, professional membership or training activity.

If you missed out on seeing the posters, most of them will be appearing on the HEARing CRC’s Slideshare page. It’s anticipated that next year the students will showcase their engaging presentation skills at a session at the HEARing CRC Research Symposium.

PhD student to profile her research at US Hearing Conservation Conference

SiobhanIn November 2016, HEARing CRC PhD student Siobhan McGinnity (The University of Melbourne) received a Student Conference Award from the US-based National Hearing Conservation Association (NHCA).

As a recipient of this award, Siobhan (pictured right) will attend and present her preliminary research findings at their 2017 conference in San Antonio, Texas later in the year. Siobhan’s PhD research is finding out if musicians, sound engineers and live-music enthusiasts have a greater risk of acquiring hearing loss due to their ongoing exposure to sound.

“To date, the risk of hearing loss amongst musicians have been well documented by researchers, but very little is known if it extends to live music sound engineers and music lovers – who are also at the centre of the live-music experience. Considering sound levels in live music venues have been consistently recorded between 92 and 106 dBA  – it stands to reason there is a good chance this may be the case,” Siobhan said.

“At the 2017 NHCA Conference, I will be going into more detail about my PhD research. So far the data I have collated suggests individuals wearing hearing protection for even 20 percent of the time will have better hearing outcomes.”

Founded in 1976, the NHCA was created to prevent hearing loss caused by noise exposure and other environmental factors across all sectors of society through its professional development, education, research and policy formulation initiatives.

The NHCA also acts as a forum where organisations and individuals with similar concerns can share information and research findings that provide new insights into hearing conservation. It is comprised primarily of audiologists and otolaryngologists (ENTs) who are concerned with noise-induced, hearing impairment caused by occupational exposure and lifestyle choices.

A sound investment in research sees Australia as a world leader in hearing science

HEARLab® – one of the innovations made possible through HEARing CRC funding.

Today is World Hearing Day – a time to promote better hearing healthcare and reflect on the global impact of hearing loss.

This year the World Health Organisation is focusing on actions and sound investments world-wide to reduce the economic impact of hearing loss – a condition that affects one in every six Australians, including some 80% of those over 75 years of age.

Australia is a world-leader in hearing research, devices, and clinical practice, as a direct result of Commonwealth and State Government support for the hearing healthcare industry, service provision and research.  Since 1992, the Commonwealth Government and 21 member organisations have supported the HEARing Cooperative Research Centre (HEARing CRC).

A few years ago, the HEARing CRC was responsible for initiating the Listen Hear! Report – a detailed analysis that identified the economic impact of hearing loss that is costing Australia $11.7billion each year, at least half of this is related to lost productivity of adults with hearing disability.

HEARing CRC CEO Professor Robert Cowan said since the release of Listen Hear!, the HEARing CRC and its member organisations have engaged in translational research and implementation to develop outcomes to directly address and reduce this economic burden.

“For example, our HEARsmart initiative, which is a collaboration with the National Acoustic Laboratories (NAL), has real potential to reduce economic burden by prevention of needless hearing loss in Australian musicians, gig-goers, clubbers and sound engineers resulting from high exposure levels.  HEARing CRC is working with music venues and organisations such as the Deafness Foundation and Music Victoria to promote healthy hearing to all Australians, especially young people,” Prof Cowan said.

“HEARing CRC works closely with its member Cochlear Limited, the global leader in implantable hearing solutions, on technologies that restore hearing to hundreds of thousands of children and adults around the world. This includes developments for the company’s Nucleus cochlear implant electrodes, such as a world-first study of a drug-eluting electrode array, new speech processing programs for tonal language speakers, and guidelines on candidature and evaluation for people with hearing loss. These are HEARing CRC initiatives used worldwide to support Cochlear.”

Again working with its member, NAL, and supported by the New South Wales Medical Devices Fund, HEARing CRC has developed HEARLab® – now used extensively in 140 Australian Hearing centres and worldwide to reduce the costs of detection of hearing loss and fitting of devices in infants or adults with hearing loss who cannot respond to traditional tests.  Work with NAL has also led to NAL-NL2, licensed to all major hearing aid companies, and used to fit half of the world’s hearing aids.

“HEARing CRC is also training Australia’s next generation of professionals – with over 90 higher degree students completing studies through the Centre, and with provision of online continuing-development training for over 2,000 hearing healthcare professionals via HEARnet Learning®” Prof. Cowan explained

“The foresight of the Australian Commonwealth and NSW State Governments in supporting the establishment and activities of the HEARing CRC is a true ‘sound investment’ in reducing the economic impact of hearing loss for all Australians.  As noted by the WHO, hearing loss remains one of the world’s most prevalent and costly disabilities, and continuing ‘sound investment’ through the work of the HEARing CRC is critical now and in the future.”

For further information contact: Greg Lawrence, Marketing Manager

e: glawrence@hearingcrc.org, t: (03) 9035 5351, mob: 0431 426 623

CRCA Award recognises PhD research on how visual noise impacts older adult listening skills

Julie BeadleHEARing CRC PhD Student Julie Beadle (pictured right) has won the 2017 Cooperative Research Centre Association’s (CRCA) Early Career Showcase for her research on how visual distractions impact auditory processing.

Based at the MARCS Institute, Western Sydney University, Julie’s research has taken a more holistic approach to assessing listening abilities by demonstrating that what a person sees can impact on how well they understand speech in noise.

“Many older adults can have good hearing or have had their hearing corrected by hearing aids, but they still struggle to understand speech in everyday noisy situations,” Julie explained.

“Hearing well is very different from listening well. There are other cognitive considerations at play when it comes to listening, and these factors should be included in standard clinical listening ability assessments.”

Cognitive skills that are important for listening such as working memory and attention tend to become less efficient over time. This can contribute to difficulty understanding conversations in noisy environments such as restaurants.

“For my research, younger and older adults with good hearing completed a series of attention and memory tasks. The results gave me an indication of an individual’s cognitive abilities. Next, I measured how well these same people understood speech in noisy situations,” Julie said.

“As expected, I’ve found that younger adults understand more speech than older adults. Preliminary results also suggest that individuals who performed well on the cognitive assessments were able to understand more compared to individuals whose cognitive skills weren’t as efficient.”

Julie also discovered that when she removed extra visual distractions from the listening situations, such as people talking in the background, while leaving the face of the talker being listened to, older people understood up to 50 per cent more than when they have to deal with both visual and auditory noise.

These results are important for two reasons: one, older adults seem susceptible to visual distractions, which could contribute to difficulty understanding speech in cocktail-party listening environments and two, looking at a person’s face while they talk should help.

The results of this research will be incorporated into Julie’s PhD thesis, which is developing a new listening test that more accurately reflects communicating in real life situations by including both visual and aural noise distractions.

An important part of this study will be evaluating how age and cognitive factors like attention and memory can impact on test performance.

The CRCA Early Career Researcher Showcase provides the next generation of Australian scientists with an opportunity to talk about their research and the curiosity that drove them to find out more. The Early Career Researcher Showcase is now regarded as one of the highlights of the CRCA’s Annual Conference.

You can watch Julie’s video submission to the 2017 CRCA Early Career Showcase below.


HEARing CRC Chair Dr Katherine Woodthorpe receives Order of Australia

Congratulations to HEARing CRC Chair, Dr Katherine Woodthorpe AO for receiving an Order of Australia for her ongoing service to the Australian business, innovation and research communities.

Dr Woodthorpe’s award recognises her considerable experience, expertise and long track record in public affairs that includes government relations, as well as her deep knowledge of private equity and superannuation in the financial sector.

She is also a very active player in the Australian science and research space, holding several Board positions that oversees the activities of a variety of Cooperative Research Centres including the Capital Markets and Deep Exploration Technologies CRC,s as well as being the Chair of the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems CRC. Dr Woodthorpe joined in the HEARing CRC as its Chair in mid-2017.

“I am surprised and delighted to receive this honour. I hope it encourages more nominations of women in the science and business worlds, as there are so many more important contributions going unrecognised,” Dr Woodthrope said upon receiving the award.

She has been cited in various media as one of Australia’s most influential people in innovation and in 2013, was included in the Australian Financial Review’s 100 Women of Influence.

Dr Woodthorpe was recently interviewed by InnovationAus.com where she talked about her experience of being a women and a scientist working at the Board and CEO levels for many Australian-based organisations and businesses. You can read the full article here.

Katherine has a BSc (1st Class Hons) from Manchester University and PhD in Chemistry. She is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (and sits on their NSW Council) and was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Technology Sydney.

Bee HEARsmart

To coincide with the launch of Hearing Awareness Week 2017, our public outreach arm, HEARsmart, has co-created a health promotion video about tinnitus with support from Australian Hearing, Uni Melb Audiology Clinic, and Musicians 4 Hearing. So, if you have a couple of minutes, skip over to HEARsmart and see what you think!

Musicians are four times more likely to develop tinnitus than the general public, and others in the music industry also experience a higher risk – so this is where we’ve targeted the video. Typically, people with tinnitus report hearing buzzing or ringing sounds, even though the sound isn’t actually present in the world around them. This may not sound so severe, but over time can have a significant impact on the mental health and wellbeing of those who experience it. In addition, tinnitus can be an important early indicator of more serious hearing damage.

If the video gets you thinking about what sort of earplugs would be a good fit for you, keep in touch via HEARsmart socials (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram). We’ll keep you up to date with the launch of our independent review of filtered earplugs that’s coming soon – it should help you work out which plugs are right for you.

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