The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health announces the launch of the Cochlear Center for Hearing and Public Health, a research center that will study the effects of hearing loss, particularly among older adults, with the goal of preventing and mitigating the consequences of hearing impairment, including cognitive decline and dementia.
The Center is being established with a U.S. $10 million gift from Cochlear Limited (ASX: COH), the Sydney, Australia-based developer of hearing implants. The Center will be headed by Dr. Frank Lin, an associate professor of epidemiology and mental health at the Bloomberg School and of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery at Johns Hopkins Medicine.
“We are committed to bringing critical issues to the fore of public health research and awareness,” says Bloomberg School Dean Ellen J. MacKenzie. “We are excited about the contributions the Cochlear Center will make in driving research and policy on the consequences of hearing loss, particularly as the world’s population ages.”
The announcement was made in the lead-up to World Hearing Day on March 3, designated by the World Health Organization (WHO) to raise awareness of hearing loss across the globe. One-third of the world’s population age 65 and older is affected by disabling hearing loss, according to WHO. The prevalence of age-related hearing loss is highest in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia Pacific and South Asia. Lack of concerted attention towards hearing loss leads to an overall annual cost of $750 billion globally as estimated by the WHO.