Dr Darren Mao was recently awarded his PhD (co-supervised by the Bionics Institute and the Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Melbourne). Dr Mao is now working full time in the Translational Hearing Research team led by Professor Colette McKay.

Dr Mao’s area of focus for his PhD was developing an objective measure of hearing, by recording responses from individuals’ brains using electrodes placed on their scalp

Dr Mao and the team at Bionics Institute have developed a novel method that can automatically set the electrical levels for cochlear implants with the push of a button.  Not only can this help the programming of hearing devices in infants, but will also facilitate routine implant adjustment procedures in adults, saving clinicians time and effort.

This work has seen translation to a patent, and it is Dr Mao’s hope that one day, this technology will be implemented into a clinical device that benefits cochlear implant recipients.

E: [email protected]

ORCID: 0000-0003-4077-2710


The Bionics Institute has multi-disciplinary expertise along with a great collaborative atmosphere. This allows and promotes engineers, clinicians, researchers and even commercial development experts to exchange their knowledge, an environment that I find myself very excited to be in."  – Dr Darren Mao

Research projects

Infant hearing

Programming cochlear implants

Recent publications

  1. Mao, D., Innes-Brown, H., Petoe, M. A., McKay, C. M., & Wong, Y. T. 2021. Spectral features of cortical auditory evoked potentials inform hearing threshold and intensity percepts in acoustic and electric hearing. Journal of neural engineering18(4), 046078. doi: 10.1088/1741-2552/ac02db

  2. Mao, D., H. Innes-Brown, M. A. Petoe, Y. T. Wong, and C. M. McKay. 2019. Fully objective hearing threshold estimation in cochlear implant users using phase-locking value growth functions. Hearing Research. 377: 24-33. doi: 1016/j.heares.2019.02.013.

  3. Peng, F., C. M. McKay, D. Mao, W. Hou, and H. Innes-Brown. 2018. Auditory Brainstem Representation of the Voice Pitch Contours in the Resolved and Unresolved Components of Mandarin Tones. Frontiers in Neuroscience. 12(820). doi: 3389/fnins.2018.00820Full Text

  4. Mao, D., H. Innes-Brown, M. A. Petoe, Y. T. Wong, and C. M. McKay. 2018. Cortical auditory evoked potential time-frequency growth functions for fully objective hearing threshold estimation. Hearing Research. 370: 74-83. doi: 1016/j.heares.2018.09.006.

Further information

Click here to read Darren's story.