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Infant Hearing Loss Focus of New Canada Research Chair

A University of Western Ontario audiologist has been honored with a Canada Research Chair to study new ways to assist infants who have hearing loss.

Richard Seewald, professor in the School of Communication Sciences & Disorders and researcher in the National Centre for Audiology and the Canadian Language & Literacy Research Network at Western, has been awarded the Canada Research Chair in Childhood Hearing. The University will receive $1.4 million in funding to support the Chair over the next seven years.

Seewald has gained a worldwide reputation as a pioneer in childhood hearing impairment. The system he developed to match hearing instruments to the specific needs of children with hearing loss - known as the Desired Sensation Level (DSL) Method - is in wide use by hearing aid manufacturers and clinicians internationally. His research at Western's Child Amplification Laboratory has concentrated on fitting amplification devices to children older than six months. This new federal funding will allow him to extend this work by focusing on hearing loss in infants younger than six months and will be carried out in cooperation with Ontario's new Infant Hearing Program.

"Dr. Seewald's work has put our University and the City of London on the world map for audiology research," says Nils Petersen, Western's Vice-President (Research). "We thank the federal government for their continued support through the Canada Research Chairs program, which has now funded a total of 21 researchers at Western."

"These Canada Research Chairs will enable Canadian universities to achieve the highest levels of research excellence and become world-class leaders in the global knowledge-based economy," says Industry Minister Allan Rock. "Not only will we attract and retain excellent researchers, but Canadian students will be able to work alongside the best and the brightest Canada and the world have to offer."

The Canada Research Chairs Program, part of an overall Government of Canada plan to encourage Canada's innovation, promotes leading-edge research and innovation in universities; provides exciting opportunities for Canadian researchers; and attracts the best research minds in the world to Canadian universities. Two thousand Chairs will be established in Canada by 2005, of which Western is projected to receive more than 70.

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