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Victorian Government to accelerate Bionics Institute’s new hearing test for babies, EarGenie, to commercialisation.

Bionic Institute’s novel hearing diagnostic system, EarGenie®, moves closer to commercialisation with a new government grant of $500,000.

The Bionics Institute’s new hearing diagnostic system for babies, EarGenie, is one step closer to being available in clinics, with the announcement of a $500,000 grant from the Victorian Government’s Victorian Medical Research Acceleration Fund (VMRAF).

The Minister for Health, The Hon Mary-Ann Thomas announced the grant funding at the Bionics Institute, which will fund further clinical trials for this revolutionary technology.

Current newborn hearing tests do not provide information about discrimination between sounds meaning it is challenging for audiologists to determine whether a baby may require a hearing aid or be referred for a cochlear implant.

EarGenie uses near-infrared light to measure the brain’s response to sound in infants allowing audiologists, for the first time, to confidently select the best treatment.

Professor Colette McKay, who leads the Bionics Institute’s EarGenie research team, says that the current newborn hearing test can indicate the severity of hearing loss, but there are still significant delays in getting the right hearing treatment for infants which can affect their communication skills in the future.

“Currently, these babies have to wait until they are 9 months old before audiologists can determine if their treatment is helping them develop language.

“If the treatment isn’t right in the first months of life, they never catch up with their peers and suffer permanent communication deficit delay.”

Video source: Channel 9 News

Blake Fuller, the father of 7-month-old twins Henry and Ada, was keen for his children to take part in the trial, despite his children having normal hearing.

“I know that hearing my voice since birth has been so important for my children, not just for understanding the world, but to hear the vital sounds they need to learn to speak.

“It’s great to see technology like EarGenie being developed so that babies born with hearing impairment can get the treatment they need as early as possible and have a better quality of life.”

The Bionics Institute is seeking infants under the age of 24 months to participate in the clinical trial so the technology can be developed for use in clinics as quickly as possible.

For more information, go to: Participate in Infant Hearing Research – Bionics Institute

Want to get involved?

To continue with our research and development, we need to test EarGenie on infants younger than 24 months old, both with and without hearing impairment in our East Melbourne testing centre.

If your child is under 24 months of age, please consider participating in this vital study. We are looking for babies who are hard of hearing (any type) as well as those without hearing impairment.

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