Minnesota’s Reputation for Innovation in the Treatment of Hearing Loss

Headshot of Dr. Andrew Oxenham

The Star Tribune recently highlighted Minnesota’s reputation for research and new technologies related to hearing loss, enhanced via the work of Dr. Andrew Oxenham, in their article, “Minnesota is a hub for exciting innovations to treat hearing loss.” 

Currently, the University of Minnesota has a five-year, $9.7 million National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant to develop technology to directly restore hearing through implantation in the auditory nerve. And at the world-renowned Mayo Clinic in Rochester, clinical trials for medication that delays age-related hearing loss are underway.

The Tribune noted that in our Department specifically, Oxenham’s research seeks to understand how the brain interprets acoustic sounds received from the ear, which can impact practical applications in the field such as hearing aids, cochlear implants, and automatic speech recognition. A current research study he is leading includes partners from seven universities in the United States and Canada to test the associations between musical training at an early age, the adult brain’s response to sound, and the ability of people at a later age to maintain their ability to understand speech in noisy backgrounds. 

Oxenham’s work contributes to what Dave Fabry, chief innovation officer at Starkey (an Eden Prairie-based hearing aid company), called in the article a  “golden era for hearing health patients.”

Andrew Oxenham, PhD, Distinguished McKnight University Professor Area Director for Cognitive and Brain Sciences in the Department of Psychology at the University of Minnesota

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