Ears to research that helps people hear

Sydney, 01 February 2014

When Christian Vignes, from Macquarie Funds Group, experienced progressive hearing loss, to the point where he found it hard to understand what was being said in meetings, he underwent surgery to replace a bone in his middle ear with a titanium piston. He was inspired to learn after his operation that the laser machine used in the surgery had been donated to the hospital by a former Macquarie Group employee. It led Christian to support research into preventing permanent hearing loss by helping fund a research project at the Garvan Institute.

The Garvan project is identifying the nature and extent of changes to the brain as a consequence of hearing loss so that next generation technologies and strategies are able to address the impact of the problem, according to project leader Professor David Ryugo.

"This research addresses brain plasticity and the 'use it or lose it' theory of brain health," Professor Ryugo said. "Hearing loss can cause social isolation, depression and early cognitive decline in the elderly so we hope that this novel research will help to counteract these effects of hearing loss."

Christian has now had both ears operated on and enjoys excellent hearing.


Image caption: Members of the Garvan hearing loss project headed by Professor Ryugo (right) and supported by Macquarie staff and the Foundation.