Hopkins pursues research, clinical care for hearing loss

Hopkins uses grant money to study, care for those with hearing loss.

The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine plans to create a new hearing center focused on restoring functional hearing loss with a $15 million donation from David M. Rubenstein, philanthropist and co-CEO of The Carlyle Group.

The center will integrate clinical care and research in aiding people with congenital and acquired hearing loss.

Research will focus on new ways to protect and repair the inner ear. And the care will include patient care coordination, patient and family education and trials of new hearing devices.

“Research is at the core of medical advancements, and this holds true for the specialty of otolaryngology–head and neck surgery,” said Dr. David Eisele, the Andelot Professor of Laryngology and Otology and the director of the Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery at the Hopkins School of Medicine, in a statement. “Scientific breakthroughs that can be translated to benefit those who experience hearing loss are greatly needed.”

Hopkins officials say hearing loss costs billions in lost productivity and can severely impact people’s quality of life.

They cited data from the National Institutes of Health that show 15 percent of Americans age 20 to 69 have hearing loss due to noise exposure and a quarter of those aged 65-74 and half of those over 75 and older have a disabling form of hearing loss.

The patient care clinical space for the otology clinic on the sixth floor of the Johns Hopkins Outpatient Center will be renamed the David M. Rubinstein Hearing Center, which will  include the Division of Otology and Neurotology, the Division of Audiology and the Listening Center. Rubenstein is a Johns Hopkins University and Johns Hopkins Medicine trustee.

“These promising areas of research will hopefully get us closer to helping people with hearing loss and deafness,” said Rubenstein in a statement. “The sense of hearing is a precious gift, and we need to step up our efforts to ensure we help those in need.”

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