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Global Network Formed to Improve Hearing Implant Outcomes

London, ON -The Cochlear Implant Program at the London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) working in collaboration with researchers at The University of Western Ontario's National Centre for Audiology, has joined 16 other world-class centres to form HEARRING - the International Network of Comprehensive Hearing Implant Centers of Excellence. These centres, which are leaders within their specialities, have come together as a globally networked "cluster". This will allow members to set scientific and clinical standards and raise the quality of patient care.

Dr. Lorne Parnes is a professor of Otolaryngology and Clinical Neurological Sciences in the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry at Western, and the Medical and Surgical Director for LHSC's Cochlear Implant Program. Started in 1987, the program has treated over 220 adults and 115 children with cochlear implants. Some notable North American achievements include implanting the first Pulsar (2005) and Sonata (2007) cochlear implant devices. The National Centre for Audiology at the Faculty of Health Sciences, under the leadership of Dr. Prudence Allen, is one of the largest audiology and hearing research centres in the world.

The cochlear implant program will continue to focus on traditional cochlear implants, hearing preservation surgery and research. Dr. Parnes notes that "HEARRING will provide a new and unique opportunity for collaborative research, clinical problem solving and support."

Member clinics are from Austria, Belgium, Poland, Germany, France, Spain, UK, China, Columbia, India, Australia, Argentina, Russia, and Switzerland. The goals for HEARRING network are to set standards for scientific research, establish training and define interdisciplinary clinical skills sets to meet the needs of the patient throughout the cochlear implant journey.

For more information on HEARRING, visit www.hear-ring.com.

About London Health Sciences Centre

London Health Sciences Centre has been in the forefront of medicine in Canada for over 130 years and offers the broadest range of specialized clinical services in Ontario. Building on the traditions of its founding hospitals to provide compassionate care in an academic teaching setting, London Health Sciences Centre is home to South Street Hospital, University Hospital, Victoria Hospital and Children's Hospital, two family medical centres, and Lawson Health Research Institute - a joint research initiative with St Joseph's Health Care, London. As a leader in medical discovery and health research, London Health Sciences Centre has a history of over 30 international and national firsts including the world's first invasive inner ear surgery for vertigo in normal hearing ears, and attracts top clinicians and researchers from around the world. As a regional referral centre, London Health Sciences Centre cares for the most medically complex patients including critically injured adults and children in Southwestern Ontario and beyond. The hospital's 10,000 staff, physicians, students and volunteers provide care for more than one million patient visits a year. For more information visit www.lhsc.on.ca

About the National Centre for Audiology

The National Centre for Audiology (NCA), located at The University of Western Ontario, is a world class centre for hearing science and audiologic research. Internationally recognized for research excellence, the NCA has adopted a multidisciplinary approach to studying hearing and hearing impairments by including scholars from the health sciences, engineering, music, medical biophysics, psychology, otolaryngology, and physiology. The NCA is firmly committed to the integration of its research with the needs of its partners in the hearing health care and industrial sectors. With a significant track record in working with those partners, the NCA is a world leader in developing new technologies and methodologies to both prevent and alleviate the potentially debilitating effects of hearing loss. The NCA is the only such research facility in Canada and one of only a few worldwide. For more information visit www.uwo.ca/nca.

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