New center for hearing loss research in Newfoundland, Canada

Research

A new research and development center, called the Genomic-Based R&D Centre for Hearing Science, which focuses on genetic forms of hearing loss, has been opened in Grand Falls-Windsor, reports the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC).

The center is being funded by the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), the provincial government of Newfoundland and Labrador, and Memorial University, St. John’s. This part of Canada was chosen specifically for this type of genetic hearing research because it has what is known by geneticists as a ‘founder population’ and because families here are traditionally large. This means that the research team can assess patterns of hearing loss within families and across multiple generations.

“This is a special day, because this is really about patient impact,” said Terry-Lynn Young, a Memorial University professor who has spent more than a decade carrying out research on specific genes that cause hearing loss in Newfoundland families. “What we’ve never been able to do is actually bring in the families who have hearing loss, and have an in-depth look at what type of loss they have, and perhaps how we can make things better for their hearing aids,” she added.

One of the aims is to work with computer modelling to develop algorithms and then incorporate the results into hearing devices to improve hearing aid performance for people with different types of hearing loss. McMaster University in Hamilton and Western University in London, Ontario will also provide support to the center.

Source: CBC News

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