Deafness Research Foundation Announces New Name

For Immediate Release                                                                                                                   

Contact: Libby Schnee

Deafness Research Foundation Announces New Name and Reaffirms its Unwavering Dedication to the Prevention, Research, and Cure for Hearing Loss

Hearing Restoration Project is Major Commitment to a Cure

New York, NY (September 14, 2011) -- Today the Deafness Research Foundation Board of Directors announced a new name for the highly-regarded organization.  Effective immediately, the Deafness Research Foundation will be called Hearing Health Foundation.  To signal the Foundation’s unwavering dedication to hearing research, a groundbreaking research consortium, the Hearing Restoration Project, was also announced.

Clifford P. Tallman, Jr., Hearing Health Foundation Board Chair, said, “This is an exciting day in the history of our 53-year-old organization.  We are revitalizing our image and changing our name to Hearing Health Foundation to more accurately communicate our mission and our dedication to the prevention of, research into, and cure for hearing loss.” 

Nearly 40 million Americans suffer from some form of hearing loss and that number is expected to double by 2030.  Since its inception in 1958, Hearing Health Foundation has been the leading source of private funding in the United States for research into the science of hearing and balance.  “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  “Our research, however, showed that ‘deafness’ is an outdated term and now has a different connotation from how we were initially using it.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.”

The Hearing Restoration Project (HRP) is an alliance of scientists working collaboratively and interactively to find a cure for hearing loss.  The goal of the HRP 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. Hair cells convert sound information into electrical signals that are sent to the brain.  Once human hair cells die, hearing loss is permanent.  The challenge is to find a way to trigger hair cell regrowth within humans, which could mean a cure for millions suffering from various forms of hearing loss.

“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.”

The Hearing Restoration Project members include the top 10 scientists in the country, affiliated with Harvard University, University of Washington, Stanford University, Washington University, Baylor University, and the University of Michigan, to name a few.

Dr. George Gates, the Scientific Director of the Hearing Restoration Project, said, “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.”

About the Hearing Restoration Project and the Hearing Restoration Summit

The Hearing Restoration Project will bring together an innovative model – collaboration between the 10 major hearing loss research centers in the United States, with full sharing of technologies, data, and credit.  The HRP asks from its members a commitment to the overall goal and organizational approach, full sharing and allegiance to the Project, and active participation in the governance of the HRP.  Significant funds have already been raised, but the HRP is determined to focus both attention and millions of dollars toward finding a cure to hearing loss. 

On October 3, 2011, Hearing Health Foundation will hold a free summit called The Promise of Cell Regeneration, as well as a major fundraiser, at the New York Academy of Medicine in New York City.  This event is open to the public.  For more information, to register to attend, or to make a donation, contact 

About Hearing Health Foundation

Hearing Health Foundation, formerly Deafness Research Foundation, is the United States’ leading source of private funding for research in hearing and balance science.  Research made possible by Hearing Health Foundation grants has resulted in dramatic innovations that have increased options for those living with hearing and balance disorders, and protected those at risk.  Since our inception in 1958, we have awarded more than $26.5 million through more than 2,000 scientific research grants to researchers who are dedicated to exploring new avenues of hearing and balance science.  Hearing Health Foundation also publishes the award-winning Hearing Health Magazine.

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