Hearing Regeneration and Protection
Hearing loss can occur as a result of inner ear pathologies, trauma, excessive noise, pharmacological agents or ageing. Even after significant hearing loss, protecting the remaining residual hearing can provide significant functional and quality of life benefits for the sufferer. The Hearing Regeneration and Protection group is a team of surgeons, clinicians, scientists and engineers that work collaboratively to conduct both laboratory and clinical research focused on protecting and regenerating inner ear function after surgical, noise and other traumas.
A major focus of our work is developing therapies to protect residual hearing and minimise hearing loss and tissue response after cochlear implantation. This allows for hybrid hearing strategies (acoustic hearing combined with cochlear implants) to improve both music appreciation and speech perception in noisy environments. We are also interested in regenerating hearing following trauma from excessive noise - even mild trauma to the ear to can result in synaptopathy or loss of hair cell function. It was previously thought that hearing, once lost, was unable to be restored. However our group has recently demonstrated synapse regeneration may be possible and are currently developing clinical approaches to attempt to restore hearing.
Developing these therapies involves investigating pharmacological agents, optimising drug delivery to the inner ear, and detailed examination of inner ear pathologies and the biological response to trauma. Our collaboration with the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital enables us to rapidly translate our scientific findings into clinical practise through Clinical trials.
Dr Karina Needham, Senior Research Fellow
Dr Hayden Eastwood, Research Fellow
Dr Justin Tan, Research Fellow
Dr Christo Bester, Clinical Research Fellow
Amy Hampson, Research Assistant
Kate Brody, Research Assistant
Aaron Collins, Research Engineer
Katie Davis, Clinical Trial Coordinator
Dr Jessica Choong, PhD student
The Hearing Regeneration and Protection group collaborates with a number of groups and organisations around the world. A selection of our current collaborations include:
Professor Peter Throne, The University of Auckland
Professor Anthony Gummer, University of Tuebigen
Professor Jun Ho Lee, Seoul National University
Dr Nicholas Reynolds, ARC Training Centre for Biodevices, Swinburn University
National Health and Medical Research Council
The Garnett Passe and Rodney Williams Memorial Foundation
Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital