Congratulations to Professor Julia Sarant for receiving the NHMRC Targeted Research Call for Hearing Health Grant

Professor Julia Sarant and her team have received a NHMRC Targeted Research Call for Hearing Health grant to investigate “Hearing loss, the silent enemy of good health: Effectiveness, cost-effectiveness, and potential economic and social impact of interventions to promote treatment to facilitate improved hearing”. Besides Professor Sarant, this project also involves the Melbourne School of Health Sciences' Professor Jill Francis (Implementation scientist), Professor Ajay Mahal (Deputy Director, Nossal Institute), Professor Lena Sanci (Head, General Practice) and Professor David Harris (Head, Economics).

Hearing loss impacts many adults of all ages, and seven in ten adults aged over 70 years. It is the leading cause of disability for people of this age, the largest potentially modifiable risk factor for dementia and the third leading cause of years lived with disability (higher than diabetes and dementia).

Despite significant associated health, well-being and financial costs, referrals for hearing care, hearing aid adoption and use are very low. This project will identify barriers to medical referral for hearing care and barriers to hearing aid uptake and use and will design and evaluate the feasibility and cost-effectiveness of interventions to address these, leading to improved health outcomes for Australians.

This work with this diverse multi-disciplinary team will further extend Julia Sarant’s research program, facilitating a critical investigation of why people do not seek help and why they are not referred by the medical profession for help when the consequences of not doing so seriously impact their cognitive, physical, and mental health.

This grant will begin in 2023 and will fund two new PhD students; Isha Hariname, a 2022 Master of Audiology graduate, and a second student from the Nossal Institute. Ella Davine, who has been awarded a Commonwealth funded scholarship, will also work on the project.

The research will create significant opportunities to reform and improve preventative health service delivery in the primary and hearing care professions, addressing the Hearing Health Roadmap goals of identifying hearing loss, providing support, and enhancing the hearing sector’s capacity to deliver appropriate clinical services. The project will establish an evidence base for the development of future hearing policies, more effective hearing screening mechanisms, promotion of behaviors to maximise hearing health in older Australians, greater adoption of hearing intervention technology, and improved service delivery models.

Julia Sarant

Julia Sarant and some of her Hearing Loss and Cognition Research Project team members, including ‘cog baby’ new junior members!