OUR HISTORY

Hearing Health Foundation (previously Deafness Research Foundation) was founded in 1958 because of the vision, strength and determination of one remarkable woman: the late Collette Ramsey Baker.

After living with substantial hearing loss for many years, at age 35 an early fenestration operation completely restored Mrs. Ramsey Baker’s hearing. In gratitude, she sought to support hearing and balance research, to donate money to a national non-profit organization, but none existed. That was when she decided to create a non-profit that could support medical research to further hearing loss treatments, prevention, and cures.

Under her leadership, HHF bestowed grants upon colleges and other research institutions for research and improvement of hearing. Mrs. Ramsey Baker received letters of commendation from many renowned leaders, including Presidents Herbert Hoover and Dwight D. Eisenhower, as well as Helen Keller and Cardinal Francis Spellman. She was also listed in Who’s Who for Women.

Since 1958, the organization has made incredible breakthroughs in research and care, including:

  • Created the National Temporal Bone Banks Program, to collect and study the human temporal bone. Temporal bones encompass each ear within the skull. They protect the part of the brain that controls hearing, speech, memory, and behavior.

  • Supported research that led to the development of cochlear implants: devices with a magnetic internal coil and ear-worn, outside processors. They help individuals who show little to no benefit from hearing loss.

  • Advanced understanding of how sensory cells transmit information to the brain

  • Funded research led to an understanding of outer ear hair cell motility and otoacoustic emissions, which led to a new method for measuring the health of a newborn’s ear at birth.

  • Discovered that inner ear hair cell restoration is possible in chickens, frogs, and fish. 

  • Supported the establishment of Universal Newborn Hearing Screening legislation to ensure babies nationwide are tested for hearing loss at birth. Percentage of babies tested jumps from 5 percent to 94 percent.

  • Formed the Hearing Restoration Project (HRP) as the first international research consortium focused on investigating hair cell regeneration as a cure for hearing loss and tinnitus.

  • Discovered that inner ear hair cell restoration is not only possible in chickens and in fish, but in young mice, greatly advancing goal of human hearing restoration. 

  • Advanced new diagnostic methods and future treatments for tinnitus, Ménière's disease, Usher syndrome, auditory processing disorder, and hyperacusis.