Hearing Progress 2017 is our latest update on the progress we’re making to accelerate the development of technology and treatments to help people confronting deafness, tinnitus and hearing loss.
Our work is vital. One in six people have hearing loss and one in 10 have tinnitus. Hearing loss can have a devastating impact on communication, making daily life a real challenge, whether at work, at school, or when socialising with friends and family. As a result, people feel isolated and cut off, which can lead to depression and other mental health problems. And research shows that the risk of developing dementia is significantly increased among people with hearing loss.
The impact that tinnitus can have on someone’s life is also often underestimated. For some people, tinnitus leads to depression, anxiety, stress and sleep problems.
So hearing loss and tinnitus matter, yet for the millions of people seeking treatments, and ultimately a cure, options are largely limited to hearing aids and cochlear implants for hearing loss, and counselling and sound therapy for tinnitus.
That’s why our research is so important. We want to find new ways to prevent hearing loss, silence tinnitus and restore hearing. And we’re also working hard to improve the technology available to help people.
Last year we invested £1.7m in supporting more than 100 research projects around the world. Recent achievements include finding a way to study human inner-ear cells outside the body, which will help speed up the discovery of new treatments to protect and regenerate cells vital to hearing. We’ve also made significant progress towards understanding how loud noise leads to permanent changes in brain activity that are linked to tinnitus, and, importantly, how we might be able to prevent these changes.
In this edition of Hearing Progress you can read more about these and other achievements. None of this work would be possible without the generosity of all our supporters, who are helping us bring forward the day when there will be treatments, and ultimately cures, for all types of hearing loss and tinnitus.