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We develop and contribute to leading edge practice, therapies and technologies to deepen knowledge and drive continuous innovation in hearing care and wellbeing.

We provide training and capacity building for professionals and future practitioners providing hearing care and support.

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Student research into speech-in-noise testing could contribute to changing practices in audiology.

University of Auckland Audiology Masters’ student Gabriela Surja had a major career change two years ago when she decided she wanted to do something that really made a difference to people’s lives.

The former transport engineer, who spent eight years working on major traffic infrastructure projects in and around Auckland, traded her hard hat for an audiometer and has never looked back.

She says audiology ticked all the right boxes – the nature of the work, the work-life balance it offers, the interaction with people, and the fact that the service could be tailored to fit the needs of kiritaki and their whānau.

In choosing her thesis topic, Gabriela sought the advice of her supervisor and Hearing House Clinical Director for audiology and rehabilitation, Dr. Holly Teagle, who encouraged her to look into improving and developing clinical practices that could reflect real-life challenges for kiritaki.

The Hearing House works closely with the University of Auckland Audiology programme, providing clinical experience placements for students and collaborating on research.

Gabriela ’s chosen topic – Speech Perceptionin Noise Assessment – examines an area that is not currently a standard part of audiology testing inNew Zealand, but Gabriela is hoping her research might change that.

Gabriela says that an understanding of a person’s speech perception in noise is crucial for deciding on an appropriate rehabilitation strategy, including the fitting of hearing devices such as cochlear implants and hearing aids.

In addition, she says the performance of hearing devices in noise is largely tested in controlled laboratory conditions, and not validated in realistic acoustic environments. This can lead to persistent complaints of hearing difficulty in noisy situations, despite the use of a hearing device.

She hopes that her findings could add further weight to the move to have speech-in-noise testing adapted as best practice in New Zealand – and help create a better understanding and more realistic picture of how people who are hard of hearingcope in our noisy world.

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Raising awareness of congenital Cytomegalovirus on the local and global stage.

Dr. Holly Teagle, The Hearing House’s Clinical Director, is continuing local and global efforts to raise awareness of congenital Cytomegalovirus (cCMV), the most common cause of non-genetic hearing loss in children.

She has presented to international audiences on the subject, including the Australasian Newborn Hearing Screening (ANHS) conference in Hobart and the American Cochlear Implant Alliance Conference in Dallas, Texas.

Children born with CMV often have multiple medical diagnoses, which create many challenges for families. In addition to hearing loss, CMV can also result in developmental delays, cognitive impairment, movement and balance difficulties, visual difficulties and neurocognitive disorders, such as autism and sensory integration problems.

Around 20% of referrals for cochlear implantation at The Hearing House are children who have hearing loss as a result of CMV.

Since 2019, The Hearing House has developed and delivered several informational CMV workshops and diagnostic clinics for children, their whānau and local service providers.

Holly Teagle

The goals of these forums are to provide opportunities for medical and therapy specialists to work together and create a safe and friendly environment for parents and family members of children with CMV to meet and network; to support parents and whānau so they can learn and understand a child’s special needs; to translate findings of evaluations and make recommendations for care in the local community, as well as empower parents and whānau to advocate for their child.

“We’ve been addressing the lack of awareness by increasing the amount of information, resources and support available to Kiwi families,” says Holly.

“Part of this has been the establishment of the CMV Clinic for The Hearing House whānau, which brings family members together with medical and therapy professionals.”

The Hearing House hopes to stage further workshops for children and their whānau over the course of this year.

Artwork by Hearing House client Bev Hickson-Snook

Living Guidelines set to improve standard of hearing care for adults.

A global collaborative effort is underway to address the unmet needs for adults with hearing loss.

As a member of the Cochlear Implant Global Task Force, Dr Holly Teagle has been instrumental in developing the new Living Guidelines on hearing care for adults. These guidelines provide guidance for hearing professionals to improve the standard of adult hearing healthcare, including assessment and follow-up care for a cochlear implant.

The taskforce is calling on individuals and families to provide feedback on the draft Living Guidelines document, asking them to share their lived experience and offer their insights.

“Clinical guidelines are integral to ensuring that healthcare decisions are based on the best available evidence. Before now, there were no international and patient-centred guidelines for hearing care and cochlear implants for adults,” Holly says.

“We need to hear the voices of our cochlear implant recipients,” she says. “Their input is vital in creating a more inclusive and effective healthcare environment that provides better outcomes for everyone.

“Untreated hearing loss has been linked to decreased quality of life, cognitive decline and depression and there is a growing body of evidence suggesting an association between hearing loss in older adults and neurocognitive disorders, such as dementia.

“Additionally, hearing loss can also have an impact on the individuals close to them, including family and friends.”

The new Living Guidelines make nine recommendations across hearing screening, specialist referral and evaluation, rehabilitation and patient outcomes. The two-year research project looked at more than 13,000 peer-reviewed studies and involved a panel of 52 experts representing 58 organisations, including those living with hearing loss. The guidance and guidelines will be updated as new evidence is published.

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