New York — The Deafness Research Foundation has announced that it is changing the 53-year-old organization’s name to the Hearing Health Foundation. The Board of Directors also announced that it was launching the Hearing Restoration Project (HRP), an alliance of scientists working collaboratively and interactively to find a cure for hearing loss.
Clifford P. Tallman Jr, Hearing Health Foundation’s Board Chair, stated in the press statement that the name “Hearing Health Foundation” more accurately communicated the organization’s mission and dedication to hearing loss prevention, hearing loss research, and hearing loss cures.
“The name Deafness Research Foundation served us well,” explained Tallman. “Our research, however, showed that ‘deafness’ is an outdated term and now has a different connotation from how we were initially using it. Over the last half-century, we have done important work. Our new name reflects our determination to change the social stigma tied to hearing loss and to fund new and promising research that may bring a cure for hearing loss to the public.”
HRP’s goal is to raise $50 million to complete research begun more than 20 years ago, when researchers discovered that birds have the ability to regrow damaged hair cells in their inner ears. HRP intends to use its research dollars to find a way to trigger hair cell regrowth within humans.
“Many labs are on the cusp of a major breakthrough in this field of research, which didn’t exist 25 years ago,” said Dr Edwin Rubel of the University of Washington, one of the original researchers who discovered that hair cells regenerate in chickens. “We need some luck and what the HRP is providing: sustained funding and the collaboration between a number of good researchers.”
Dr George Gates, scientific director of the HRP, commented, “If we can get hair cells to grow back in humans, we can restore hearing without surgery and without batteries, and we think we can get to clinical trials for this research within the next decade.”
On October 3, 2011, Hearing Health Foundation will hold a free summit called “The Promise of Cell Regeneration” at the New York Academy of Medicine in New York City. The educational event and fundraiser will be open to the public.
For more information, visit www.hearinghealthfoundation.org.