AHH seminar: The Cochlear Implant: from research curiosity to routine clinical treatment

Speaker: Professor Jim Patrick AO FTSE
Date: Monday 24 June
Time: 1.00pm – 2.30pm
Location: Australian Hearing Hub, Level 1, Lecture Theatre 

1.00pm – 1.05pm – Welcome
1.05pm – 1.45pm – Presentation
1.45pm – 2.00pm – Q & A
2.00pm – 2.30pm – Networking & Refreshments


The cochlear implant is today an established treatment for severe to profound hearing loss, for people of all ages. This presentation will describe my journey over the past forty years, from the early research studies with Professor Graeme Clark’s multidisciplinary team at the University of Melbourne to product development and enhancement with evolving science and technology by Cochlear Limited and partners around the world. It will include a high level view of many of the activities that were needed to bring this novel implantable medical device to market, and some of the issues that needed to be addressed along the way.

Key aspects of the early work were safety studies that proved that the auditory nerve could be stimulated electrically without damage and psychophysical studies with a volunteer research subject that led to the development of the first speech coding strategy.  Funding from the Australian Government then led to the establishment of the Cochlear project by the company Nucleus Limited.

The development of the initial Cochlear device was completed in just 13 months, followed by clinical trials in Australia and then the US and Europe. Important connections were established with Key Opinion Leaders in Audiology and Otology as well as with the Regulatory Agencies.  Before this time the professionals in the field were generally quite sceptical about possible benefit that could be provided by the cochlear implant, but their personal experiences and those of their patients transformed this scepticism to universal support.

The presentation will describe how sustained research and technology development have since improved recipient outcomes and device usability, together device reliability. It will illustrate how a medical device company can work closely with academic research partners to resolve important scientific and clinical questions.


Professor Jim Patrick AO FTSE  is one of the original engineers who pioneered the development of the multichannel cochlear implant with Professor Graeme Clark. He is recognised as a world authority on cochlear implants.

He joined Professor Clark’s research team at The University of Melbourne in 1975. In 1981, after the first successful human implants were concluded, he moved to Sydney as a key member of the original three-man team, devoted to developing a ‘clinically applicable’ cochlear implant.

He was responsible for systems engineering and the digital aspects of the implantable stimulator, playing a key leadership role in the development of the commercial medical implant. Since then he has been a member of Cochlear Limited’s senior management team, holding a number of technology management roles, including responsibility for R&D, Quality and Manufacturing. Since retiring at the end of 2016, he has taken on a consulting role at Cochlear Limited with the title Chief Scientist – Emeritus.

Today, Cochlear Limited is a global company, with annual sales of more than $1 billion, more than 3000 employees, direct sales in more than 20 countries and distributor sales in more than 100 countries, and research centres in all continents. Cochlear has a global share of the cochlear implant market of more than 60 per cent.


Registration:  Entry is free and open to the public.

Please register by Wednesday 19 June 2019 to louise.dodd@mq.edu.au


To view other up and coming AHH member events please go to: http://hearinghub.edu.au/events/