Sunday, December 30, 2012


December 30, 2012

Dear Capita Foundation researchers, supporters, and friends,

Our 2012 closes with considerable progress in hearing research.  We thank the Capita community and welcome achievements from hearing scientists around the globe.  We are proud to present this video of our hearing research community at San Diego's ARO meeting: Capita Foundation: Sound and Vision 2012.

Each year we receive remarkable grant applications for innovations that need support.  Funding is too limited to take on all the great projects this year.  Kindly review that lists the 2012 grant recipients. 

Capita Foundation continues to be a resource for nimble scientific minds to create opportunity.  Recent projects include gene stimulation to grow hearing hair cells, understanding auditory cortex interactions that improve speech of cochlear implant (CI) users, use of computers to improve audiology tasks, and preventing sensory/hearing loss in elderly populations.

We honor all dedicated researchers in science and medicine who improve the quality of our hearing and the future of hearing recovery.

Wishing you the very best for health and happiness as we enter this new year.


Robert E. Capita, President/CEO
Capita Foundation  

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Dr. William F. House, Inventor of Pioneering Ear-Implant Device, Dies at 89

By Douglas Martin
Published December 15, 2012 New York Times

Dr. House in 1981 with the first pre-school-age child to get a cochlear implant.
Dr. William F. House, a medical researcher who braved skepticism to invent the cochlear implant, an electronic device considered to be the first to restore a human sense, died on Dec. 7 at his home in Aurora, Ore. He was 89. The cause was metastatic melanoma, his daughter, Karen House, said.

 Dr. House pushed against conventional thinking throughout his career. Over the objections of some, he introduced the surgical microscope to ear surgery. Tackling a form of vertigo that doctors had believed was psychosomatic, he developed a surgical procedure that enabled the first American in space to travel to the moon. Peering at the bones of the inner ear, he found enrapturing beauty.

Even after his ear-implant device had largely been supplanted by more sophisticated, and more expensive, devices, Dr. House remained convinced of his own version’s utility and advocated that it be used to help the world’s poor.

Today, more than 200,000 people in the world have inner-ear implants, a third of them in the United States. A majority of young deaf children receive them, and most people with the implants learn to understand speech with no visual help.

Dr. House’s cochlear implant electronically translated sound into mechanical vibrations. His initial device, implanted in 1961, was eventually rejected by the body. But after refining its materials, he created a long-lasting version and implanted it in 1969.

He also developed the first surgical treatment for Meniere’s disease, which involves debilitating vertigo and had been viewed as a psychosomatic condition. His procedure cured the astronaut Alan B. Shepard Jr. of the disease, clearing him to command the Apollo 14 mission to the moon in 1971. In 1961, Shepard had become the first American launched into space.

In presenting Dr. House with an award in 1995, the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Foundation said, “He has developed more new concepts in otology than almost any other single person in history.”

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Scientific Power of Music

Music is powerful and has existed in all cultures throughout history. But why do humans find music so addicting and pleasurable?

Check out a short, neat video on the scientific power of music. 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

New Test To Better Understand Cause Of Childhood Deafness Within A Year

Published December 5, 2012
Medical News Today
A major advance in the diagnosis of inherited hearing loss has been made as a result of research funded by Action on Hearing Loss. A new genetic test has been piloted by scientists at the University of Antwerp that will ultimately make it possible to rapidly screen all known deafness genes to give a far more accurate diagnosis of the cause of a hearing loss.

The new test will help parents of a deaf child understand the chances of future siblings also being born deaf. Similar tests are also being developed at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children, London and should be available to families by late 2013.

The findings, published today in the American Journal of Medical Genetics, show that by screening just 34 known deafness genes, an accurate diagnosis could be given in roughly half the cases. Ultimately, all known deafness genes could be screened for the same cost as it takes to test one or two genes today.

Professor Guy Van Camp, who led the project, said: "Using today's technology only a few of the many deafness genes can be routinely tested, which means that an accurate diagnosis can typically only be given in 10-20% of cases. Our new test uses advanced DNA sequencing technology that can in principle screen all known deafness genes at the same time."

Dr Ralph Holme, Action on Hearing Loss's Head of Biomedical Research, said: "Knowing the cause of a child's deafness can also make it easier to predict how their hearing loss may change over time and help choose the most appropriate treatment or method of communication. This new test will also be very useful in providing a more accurate picture of the prevalence of different types of deafness affecting people across the UK."

For information about how Action on Hearing Loss is funding biomedical research to develop treatments to improve the everyday lives of people with hearing loss, click here.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Video: Just Listen Project explores the science of sound and the art of listening

Acoustic researchers are producing cutting-edge technologies and making discoveries that promise to change how we listen to and understand the world around us. The JUSTLISTENPROJECT will be the first to illuminate some of these advances for the public using giant-screen cinema, social media, and mobile apps—tools that make learning about science fun for people of all ages. 

Click here to view the video.