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Hearing Research Center

Director: Colleen Le Prell, Ph.D.
Department: Communicative Disorders
Phone: (352) 273-6163

The Hearing Research Center brings together researchers, clinicians, and public health policy professionals interested in issues related to hearing and communication. The center’s missions are two-fold, including the discovery of new fundamental knowledge about hearing, hearing disorders, and the physical and biochemical processes that drive those disorders; and translation/application of those findings with corresponding public health outreach to effectively educate health professionals and public populations. To achieve this mission, the center draws on faculty from the College of Public Health and Health Professions, the College of Medicine, and the College of Liberal Arts.

Faculty affiliated with the Hearing Research Center are interested in understanding and ultimately reducing the influence of age-related hearing loss, noise-induced hearing loss, hearing loss induced by ototoxic drugs, and hearing loss that develops as a consequence of genetic syndromes; strategies of interest include novel therapeutics that reduce the onset or progression of hearing loss and communication difficulties, improved hearing aid and cochlear implant processing strategies to ameliorate existing deficits, as well as gene therapy approaches to restore auditory function to the profoundly deaf.

Center-initiated collaborations complement efforts within the College of Public Health and Health Professions targeted towards joining public health professionals with their counterparts in the health professions. Pooled resources and expertise provide an opportunity for future scientists and health professionals to receive multidisciplinary research training and clinical training with the most current knowledge in the area of hearing loss and hearing protection. The center emphasizes the importance of translational research and student training in the special challenges associated with translational research, as well as information dissemination to health professionals and the general public. The Center funds lectures by visiting scholars, student research activities, and preliminary data collection in areas of interest.