Hearing impairment – Bionics Institute

Hearing impairment

Hearing loss can severely impact a person’s life, causing problems with communication, education, employment and social inclusion. In Australia alone, around 3.6 million people are affected by hearing impairment with a cost to the economy of $16 billion, and rising.

For over thirty years the Bionics Institute has conducted research to improve clinical outcomes for cochlear implant recipients, and those with hearing loss.

We continue this vital research by applying our unique multi-disciplinary approach and diverse experimental tools – from brain imaging and smart engineering to nanotechnology and gene therapy techniques.

Research areas

Infant hearing

We aim to help children with a hearing disability by understanding how infants’ brains are responding to their hearing device and developing a clinical tool to enable earlier and personalised treatments.


Improving cochlear implants

We aim to understand why some adults with a cochlear implant do not understand speech well so that we can tailor stimulation strategies and hearing therapies to optimise clinical outcomes.


Programming cochlear implants

We aim to improve the way cochlear implants are programmed and overcome the limitations of current methods; this is important for babies and young children who cannot tell the audiologist what they are hearing.


Understanding the hearing brain

We aim to understand how the brain processes electrical stimulation provided by cochlear implants and, for the increasing number of hearing-impaired patients who use hearing aids combined with a cochlear implant, how the brain combines complex acoustic and electrical stimulation.


Hearing therapeutics

We are developing a novel technology to treat hearing loss that delivers a therapeutic agent directly to the damaged cells in the inner ear.




We are exploring the use of light to improve the selectivity of auditory nerve stimulation provided by cochlear implants and other neural stimulation devices.


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