Challenge Workshop – Planning a Hearing Research Agenda

The Australian Hearing Hub

One year on from the official launch of the Australian Hearing Hub on 17 April 2013 the hub continues to bring together some of the country’s best researchers, educators and service providers to improve the lives of people who experience hearing and/or language disorders.

The Australian Hearing Hub on 6 March 2014 organised a collaborative workshop to review and develop our hearing research agenda. This workshop involved over 50 researchers, educators and services provides from Macquarie University, Australian Hearing, the National Acoustic Laboratories, Cochlear Limited, the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children, The Shepherd Centre, the Sydney Cochlear Implant Centre, the ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders and The HEARing CRC.

The workshop was split into a number of sessions which included: hearing, language and cognition in adults; hearing, language and cognition in children; technological solutions for people with hearing loss; intervention systems and their cost/benefit; hearing loss prevention and; nanofabrication.  Presenters and panel members of each of these sessions were selected from the 9 partner organisations to ensure a diversified view on research needs was presented in the development of the new framework. Many members of the audience took the opportunity after each session to ask questions and promote fruitful discussions.

Many ideas and topics were highlighted and discussed at the workshop from the convergence of disciplines to a better understanding of hearing and the brain across the lifespan, technology solutions, data collection, improvement of the translational gap by leveraging the Australian Hearing Hub’s researchers’ close ties with clinicians, extending hearing research beyond the non-English speaking population, and carrying out more research to support populations with particular needs, particularly Indigenous Australians and hearing impaired children with multiple disabilities.

Recommendations to be incorporated in the hearing research framework included a need to increase collaborative research across disciplines and organisations to more efficiently address the many hearing related questions, and ensure that the research framework is outcomes-based.

It was a successful day that brought together all the Australian Hearing Hub partners to continue to develop stronger and long lasting collaborative activities to improve the outcomes of people who experience hearing and language disorders.