Dr Julia Wunderlich (2018 - current)

Dr Wunderlich (BSc (Honours), PGDip, PhD) is a Senior Audiologist at Monash Health and a Senior Clinical Research Fellow at the Bionics Institute.

Dr Wunderlich has been collaborating with the Institute since 2018, working closely with Prof Colette McKay and the EarGenie™ team. With a PhD in auditory system development and nearly 35 years’ experience as a paediatric audiologist, Dr Wunderlich is assisting in the development of a new clinical system to address some of the most difficult clinical issues facing hearing-impaired children.

Currently, 10 percent of babies born with a hearing loss will be diagnosed with auditory neuropathy. In this condition, part of the cochlea functions normally but transmission of sound information to the brain is disordered and speech perception is compromised. Current clinical audiology tools work well in other forms of hearing impairment, but do not provide accurate measurement of a baby's hearing ability when they have auditory neuropathy.

As an audiologist Dr Wunderlich wants to be in a position to provide definitive answers about what a baby can and cannot hear. She needs a diagnostic tool that allows her to provide answers as early as possible so that she can prescribe hearing devices and get early intervention started. The last thing Dr Wunderlich wants is to tell a family that it could be many months before she can provide any certainty about the hearing ability of their baby.

EarGenie™ holds great promise as a new clinical tool, allowing accurate measurement of the hearing ability in all babies including those with auditory neuropathy. It measures changes in blood oxygen levels occurring in a baby's brain using a technique called functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS). Dr Wunderlich feels very privileged to be part of this innovative development team. EarGenie™ is using a technique never used before in audiology and she can't wait to get it into the clinic to help her most vulnerable families.

 "The Bionics Institute is a place where basic science is translated into real-world solutions. It's a place where scientists and clinicians bring together years of experience and their amazing talents to solve clinical problems. I love that focus, of bringing new solutions and ideas to problems. That focus and depth of knowledge enriches my clinical practice as well - it is just magic! One of the most exciting things about working on the Bionics Institute's EarGenie ™ project is the prospect of having a new diagnostic tool to put into clinical practice.”

 Dr Julia Wunderlich