With a donation of DKK 40 million (USD $6.05 million) from the William Demant Foundation, the Capital Region of Denmark can now consolidate all specialist treatment for hearing and balance problems at a new Copenhagen Hearing and Balance Centre at Rigshospitalet, the medical center announced on its website.
The new hearing and balance center is set to open in the summer of 2020, according to the hospital. This was decided by the Regional Council for the Capital Region of Denmark following the donation from William Demant.
Chairman of the Regional Council, Sophie Hæstorp Andersen (Social Democrats), said she looks forward to the region being able to gather the best specialists in the area and offer patients the best treatment.
“This new center will be a great opportunity to help the many people suffering from either severe hearing loss or extremely uncomfortable dizziness. We can help them live life without discomfort and difficulty,” she said.
According to the hospital’s announcement, the donation from the William Demant Foundation presents a “unique opportunity” to combine daily treatment with intensified research collaboration between the clinical world and the medico-technical world. The Technical University of Denmark is also part of the collaboration. With a total budget of around DKK 130 million (USD $19.7 million), the hearing and balance center will be able to provide better patient pathways and conduct research at the “highest international level.”
Highly specialized audiological treatment is currently taking place in the Rigshospitalet facility located in Gentofte (children and adults with cochlear implants), while traditional hearing aid treatment is at Bispebjerg Hospital. Patients with complicated audiological pathways will be able to obtain combined surgical and non-surgical treatment at the new center, while at the same time benefitting from Danish medical science and engineering within medico-technical research, said Mads Klokker, head of the Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery & Audiology at Rigshospitalet.
“We’re very pleased that we can help patients by consolidating all patient pathways in a new and modern setting. The center will be an international trailblazer, and we’re extremely ambitious. Being able to contribute to our own ‘medico-technical valley’ with world-class research is unique. Denmark is a small country and we must therefore exploit the areas in which we’re genuinely competent to benefit our patients and Danish society,” he said.
He went on to explain that the goal of the collaboration between the University of Copenhagen, the Technical University of Denmark, industry, patient organizations and the Capital Region of Denmark, is to develop new technologies to treat hearing and balance problems.
DKK 10 million (USD $1.5 million) of the DKK 40 million (USD $6.05 million) from William Demant has been earmarked for research, whereas the remaining DKK 30 million (USD $4.5 million) will be spent on building.
The donation will allow many research projects by postdocs as well as PhD students. According to Klokker, these projects will conduct research into the use of cochlear implants, including adaptation to the Danish language, simultaneous electric-acoustic hearing in single-sided deaf patients, and neuromonitoring in connection with cochlear implantation. Other important research areas are simulation and navigation ear surgery with a view to future robotic surgery, hearing adaptation strategies for patients with a hearing aid, as well as diagnosis and treatment strategies to treat dizziness.
William Demant Foundation Promotes Innovation and Collaboration
Since its establishment in 1957, the main purpose of William Demant Foundation is to support charitable causes and the commercial activities of the Demant Group. The Demant Group includes the companies Oticon, Interacoustics, and Oticon Medical.
The Chairman of William Demant Foundation, Lars Nørby Johansen, is proud to be able to contribute to the hearing and balance center.
“The center will boost research and innovation within hearing health and strengthen collaboration between experts from the public and private sectors,” said Johansen. “One of our main tasks is to contribute to society, including support for research and development within audiology. We’re therefore very proud to be able to launch this project with a considerable investment, thereby supporting our objective to improve the lives of people with hearing loss.”
Over the past ten years, William Demant Foundation is said to have donated more than DKK 700 million (USD $105.8 million) to a string of different causes such as research and dissemination of knowledge about audiology, education for young people, social projects to help marginalized groups, and initiatives to further art and culture.
Building Has Already Started
The hearing and balance center will be located in North Wing 2, which is the last phase of Rigshospitalet’s new hospital building project. Early in the planning of the building project, the Capital Region of Denmark decided to invest in two additional floors for the skeleton building in North Wing 2. The center will be located right next to the Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery and Audiology, which will be moving into the North Wing six months before. The new center is expected to open in the summer of 2020.