Bionics Institute

Infant Hearing Laboratory



fNIRS Laboratory for Infant Hearing

Many children with a hearing disability will start their educational journey a long way behind their classmates – a gap that starts in infancy and that puts them at a life-long disadvantage in terms of social, educational, career and employment opportunities.  We know that early access to hearing is crucial for the development of the brain networks that are involved in language perception and production.  There are early intervention treatments such as hearing aids and cochlear implants (bionic ears), however, the results are “hit and miss” and vary greatly from child to child.  About 1 in 3 children with cochlear implants have poor speech understanding and suffer delayed language development.  These infants can’t tell their audiologist that their hearing devices aren’t working so the problem goes undiagnosed until much later in life – when it’s too late.

The Bionics Institute is working on a solution for these children by applying our deep knowledge developed through our decades of bionic ear research.  Our clinical hearing program leader, Professor Colette McKay, is using a technique called Functional Near Infrared Spectroscopy or fNIRS to see how the brain responds to hearing inputs through the use of light sources and detectors which are placed in a cap on the head.  We will be able to see how infants’ brains are responding to their hearing device and tailor it to their individual needs.  This work will ensure a future in which all deaf infants will maximise their opportunity for normal language and brain development.

Colette needs your help to develop this vital tool to help audiologists ensure infants get the full benefit from their hearing devices.  Helping an infant to hear, with all of the life-long benefits that brings, is one of the most profound gifts a child can receive.

Give these children the gift of hearing by donating today.

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Will I receive a receipt for my donation?

Yes, as soon as your donation is processed.

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