Babies use their hearing to develop spoken language; the earlier hearing loss is identified and the baby provided with a hearing aid or cochlear implant, the sooner he or she can start learning to speak.

There are many types of hearing impairments; auditory neuropathy is a particularly challenging hearing disorder where the ear functions normally, but there are problems sending sounds from the ear to the brain. This makes it very challenging to work out how much they can hear until they are much older.

The Bionics Institute is working on a clinical system called EarGenie™, which uses a brain imaging method called functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) to see how the baby’s brain is responding to sounds. EarGenie™ will provide an accurate and detailed hearing assessment so that an appropriate hearing aid can be confidently selected and tuned optimally for that infant.

When completed, EarGenie™ will allow audiologists to tune hearing aids or cochlear implants accurately for individual babies, including those with auditory neuropathy, thereby optimising each child’s hearing and language development.

Further information

Click here to download our EarGenie™ factsheet.

Click here to download our Auditory Neuropathy factsheet.

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Research team

Program leader: Prof Colette McKay

Team members: Dr Mikhail Korneev, Dr Michael Eager, Dr Julia Wunderlich, Dr Darren Mao, Dr Boris Savkovic, Ms Emily Jeffreys, Ms Namita Bhojani

PhD researcherMr Steven LeeMr Ishara Paranawithana

Call for research participants

If you are the parent of a child under 12 months of age who has passed their newborn screening test, please consider your child becoming a research participant to help us with this vital study. 

Click here for further information regarding research participation