New Cochlear Center for Hearing and Public Health opened on World Hearing Day


Cochlear Center for Hearing and Public Health

A $10 million pledge from Cochlear Limited to the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has been used to establish the Cochlear Center for Hearing and Public Health. The Center, which is based in Baltimore, USA, will receive the $10 million gift over 10 years. It will be the first of its kind at any academic institution to focus on hearing loss as a global public health priority.

The Cochlear Center will be headed by Frank Lin, MD, PhD, an associate professor of Epidemiology and Mental Health at the Bloomberg School and of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at Johns Hopkins Medicine. Lin and a team of researchers will study the effects of hearing loss, particularly among older adults, with the goal of preventing and mitigating the consequences of hearing impairment, including cognitive decline and dementia.

“We are just now beginning to understand the impact that hearing loss can have on the lives of older adults,” says Lin. “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. This Center is going to address these gaps through epidemiological, intervention, and health policy studies that span the otolaryngology and gerontology fields with public health.”

The gift from Cochlear provides support for the core Center infrastructure and for Center faculty and trainees—helping to attract the next generation of researchers and students. The Center’s research will be funded by traditional grant-making organizations, including the National Institutes of Health. At the time of its launch, the Center’s researchers had more than $20 million in NIH funding committed to the study of hearing loss.

"At Cochlear, we are driven by our mission to improve the lives of people with hearing loss, and our gift to the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health supports this commitment," said Dig Howitt, CEO and President, Cochlear. "Hearing loss is a major public health problem. There is increasing evidence of the importance of hearing to overall health, especially as people age. Developing evidence of the impact of untreated hearing loss on people's health, on our communities and the economy is critical to ensuring hearing loss is treated appropriately. Cochlear is making an investment to build collaborative partnerships within the global medical research community and to be actively involved in delivering evidence-based research so we can better understand, address and provide access to treatment options for individuals and communities impacted by hearing loss."