Medical Research Program
The Hearing Foundation of Canada (THFC) is the largest non-governmental funding source for research in the auditory sciences in Canada. Thanks to support from donors across Canada, THFC has partnered with Canadian universities and hospitals to award more than 50 scientific and clinical research grants of up to $25,000 since 2000. THFC is proud of the projects funded through its small but thriving program and currently invests more than $100,000 annually to support medical research into different areas of hearing loss.
While other medical conditions have benefited from significant research-driven advances, we have seen only modest growth in our knowledge of how hearing works, how it is damaged, and how it can be repaired. In the early years of the 21st century, hearing loss in adults remains permanent and irreversible.
This has led to numerous promising studies about a variety of topics, including:
- How stem cells trigger hair regeneration and may in turn, restore lost hearing
- How mitochondrial DNA plays a role in age-related hearing loss
- How the brain changes to compensate for deafness in one ear
- How frequency compression technology may help develop better hearing aids for children with hearing impairment
- How age-related changes in brain function affect hearing
While significant research-driven advances have helped alleviate other medical conditions, much more must be done to increase our knowledge of how hearing works, is damaged and can be repaired.
THFC’s vision is to provide infrastructure and funding support to scientists so they can find new ways of mitigating — and perhaps reversing — the devastating effects of hearing loss. This mandate includes encouraging and supporting science and medical students who will become tomorrow’s leaders in hearing
The Foundation’s challenge is to build on its strengths and relationships with the country’s top researchers and ensure that our support for medical research increases and is directed where it can have the most impact. To that end, THFC is laying the the groundwork for a national research network that unites donors, educators, researchers and clinicians in Canadian organizations with a stake in hearing health.