Johns Hopkins to create center for hearing loss research, clinical care

Center funded by $15M gift from David M. Rubenstein

The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine will create a new hearing center focused on restoring functional hearing loss with a $15 million donation from David M. Rubenstein, philanthropist and co-CEO of The Carlyle Group, to the school's Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery.

David M. Rubenstein

Image caption: David M. Rubenstein

According to the National Institutes of Health, almost 25 percent of Americans ages 65 to 74 and 50 percent of those who are 75 and older have a disabling form of hearing loss, and about 15 percent of Americans between 20 and 69 have high-frequency hearing loss due to noise exposure. Also impacted is economic well-being, with an estimated annual cost of $122 billion to $186 billion in lost productivity and tax revenues in the United States.

The patient care clinical space for the otology clinic on the sixth floor of the Johns Hopkins Outpatient Center will be renamed the David M. Rubenstein Hearing Center. The center will include the Division of Otology and Neurotology, the Division of Audiology, and the Listening Center.

"The generosity of individuals like David Rubenstein helps keep Johns Hopkins as the premier institution for cutting-edge research," says Paul B. Rothman, dean of the medical faculty and CEO of Johns Hopkins Medicine. "This gift represents an important commitment to improve the health and well-being of our community and, ultimately, the world."

Also see: Hopkins pursues research, clinical care for hearing loss (The Baltimore Sun)

The center will integrate clinical care and research to help restore functional hearing in people with congenital and acquired hearing loss.

A key research area for the center will be system-based hearing restoration. Researchers will explore novel approaches to protect and repair the inner ear, and to ensure effective connectivity with the brain. This research will proceed in parallel with clinical care that provides a wealth of patient resources, from care coordination, to patient and family education, to trials of new hearing devices, to enhanced patient access and outreach.

"Research is at the core of medical advancements, and this holds true for the specialty of otolaryngology–head and neck surgery," says David Eisele, professor of Laryngology and Otology and the director of the Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery at the School of Medicine.

Added Rubenstein, who is who is also a Johns Hopkins University and Johns Hopkins Medicine trustee: "These promising areas of research will hopefully get us closer to helping people with hearing loss and deafness. The sense of hearing is a precious gift, and we need to step up our efforts to ensure we help those in need."

Johns Hopkins recognizes the David M. Rubenstein Hearing Center as a contribution to Rising to the Challenge: The Campaign for Johns Hopkins, an effort to raise $4.5 billion to support students, faculty, advances in research and clinical care, and interdisciplinary solutions to some of humanity's most important problems. The campaign, supporting both The Johns Hopkins University and Johns Hopkins Medicine, was publicly launched in May 2013 and is targeted for completion in 2017. Including the David M. Rubenstein Hearing Center, more than $3.32 billion has been committed so far.

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Posted in Health

Tagged philanthropy, hearing loss