Insights into hearing loss through metabolomics approach

Dr Ravindra Telang:  Insight into hearing loss through a metabolomics approach. (Metabolomics is an emerging technology which is highly sensitive in detecting complex biochemical changes occurring in an organ under various conditions.)

Noise induced hearing loss is a significant problem in the world today and despite being widely researched the fundamental mechanisms are not clear. Metabolomics is an emerging technology, which is highly sensitive in detecting complex biochemical changes occurring in an organ under various conditions. This powerful technique is not yet properly utilised in the field of auditory neuroscience. By examining the chemical changes that take place in our inner ear following noise induced stress, we hope to better understand how excessive noise can cause hearing loss and how we may be able to prevent it in future therapies. The outcome of this study can help us identify potential biomarkers from the diagnosis perspective.

Finding novel targets to protect auditory synapses.

Dr Haruna Suzuki-Kerr: Finding novel targets to protect auditory synapses for prevention of hearing loss.

Hearing loss is a global problem; in New Zealand, 880,000 people are estimated to be living with some degree of hearing loss in 2016. Recent research suggested the loss of communication between cells that detect sound and auditory neurons, to be the major underlying cause of hearing loss. We have hypothesis that a group of ATP-receptor proteins are important for maintaining these connections between inner ear cells. We will test this hypothesis, in hope to identify these proteins as novel therapeutic targets that can prevent the loss of synaptic connections in the cochlea, and even re-establish the sense of hearing.

Will hearing screening at 3 years improve outcomes for children?

Principal Investigator: Prof Suzanne Purdy, University of Auckland

Associate Investigators :Prof Randall Morton, A/P Alain C Vandal, Louise Dickinson, Nelson Balisa, Christine Lynch, CMDHB

Counties Manukau District Health Board children have high rates of unrecognised hearing loss and ear disease, affecting about a quarter of two to three year olds. Newborn hearing screening detects permanent hearing loss at birth but can miss later hearing loss associated with ear infections and glue ear, and progressive hearing loss. NZ children have their hearing tested at age four, in preparation for school. By this stage children with ear/hearing problems may have significant speech/language or other delays if they have not been treated. This research will assess feasibility of objective hearing testing at age three, in preparation for a future trial assessing whether screening at age three improves outcomes compared to the current four-year-old screen.

Dizziness and misalignment between the visual and balance systems when the balance system is damaged.

Principal Investigator: Shikha Chaudhary, AUT

Associate Investigators: Prof Denise Taylor and Dr Nicola Saywell, AUT


Dizziness is the second most common symptom for which people seek medical attention. In about a quarter of people with moderate to severe dizziness, the cause is dysfunction of the balance system.  Motion sensitivity can arise when there is a misalignment between the visual system and the balance system and can lead to dizziness. This project will look at visual fixations which maintains our gaze on a single object and how these are affected in patients with motion sensitivity following damage to the balance system.