BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS — Massachusetts Eye and Ear has received the largest gift in its history, $20 million dollars, to study hearing and balance. The funding, provided by an anonymous donor, will go to the Eaton-Peabody Laboratory, housed within the hospital’s department of otolaryngology.
Recruiting and funding new faculty chairs, and hearing researchers, will be top priorities of the lab, which will use the funds to help it pursue treatments for hearing loss and balance disorders.
Following the announcement, executives indicated that the funding is critical at this time, considering that a third of the world’s population over the age of 65 has some degree of hearing loss.
“Hearing loss robs millions of people of the ability to easily communicate with loved ones, colleagues and friends, and often results in devastating social isolation. This historic donation to our research program comes at an exciting time, when advances are happening every day, and we are closer than ever before to developing new treatments to restore hearing.”
–Dr. D. Bradley Welling, Professor and Chair of Otolaryngology at Harvard Medical School, Chief of Otolaryngology at Mass. Eye and Ear and Massachusetts General Hospital
Researchers have been making steady progress in recent years on developing treatments for hearing loss. Scientists at Mass. Eye and Ear were reportedly the first to restore hearing in mammals by regenerating hair cells and neural connections in the inner ear.