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Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School to open hearing center with $10 million gift

The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has received $10 million gift to open a research center that will study the effects of hearing loss, particularly among older adults.

School officials hope the Cochlear Center for Hearing and Public Health will find ways to prevent dementia and other cognitive declines that sometimes come with hearing loss.

The center is being established with money from Cochlear Ltd., a Sydney, Australia company that develops hearing implants.

The center will be headed by Dr. Frank Lin, an associate professor of epidemiology and mental health at the Bloomberg School and of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery at Johns Hopkins Medicine.

“We are just now beginning to understand the impact that hearing loss can have on the lives of older adults,” Lin said in a statement. “Amazingly, there is a dearth of public health research that examines this area and that is geared towards developing solutions and policies needed to mitigate these effects.”

The funding from Cochlear will support infrastructure for the center as well as its faculty and trainees. The center’s research will be funded through grants like those from the National Institutes of Health. Researchers associated with the center had more than $20 million in NIH funding to the study hearing loss.

Cochlear will have a seat on the board for the center, which also will look for opportunities for industry collaboration.

“We expect the collaboration behind this Center to generate insights into how to create scalable economic models for the delivery of hearing services to the millions of older adults in need,” Lin said.

Lin’s research into the links between hearing loss and brain health, including dementia, is credited with helping convince Congress to pass legislation last year allowing over-the-counter sales of hearing aids.

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