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Research bridges the gap between science and better hearing, by providing practical solutions for people impacted by hearing loss.

Through collaborations with academic, clinical and industry experts, our research aimes to continually advance the clinical knowledge underpinning all Hear and Say programs. Using evidence-based initiatives and support also enables us to advocate for the importance of early identification and intervention for those with hearing loss.

Hear and Say’s research spans many aspects of the hearing, listening, and speaking journey. Current research topics include:

  • Evaluation of early intervention – Listening and Spoken Language
  • Impact of parental stress and engagement on early intervention
  • Maximising outcomes for children with hearing loss who have additional considerations
  • Hearing health across the lifespan
  • Mental health and hearing loss
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Find out more about our collaboration opportunities

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Research Advisory Committee

Hear and Say’s Research Advisory Committee (RAC) consists of researchers and clinicians both internal and external to Hear and Say, with expertise in the areas of hearing loss and speech/language development.

The committee advises on the ethical and design aspects of proposed research projects and acts as gatekeeper to grant permission for researchers to conduct studies through Hear and Say.

Whilst the committee is not a registered National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC), it strictly adheres to standards outlined in the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research 2007 (Updated May 2018).

Child In A Speech Therapy Lesson
Img Hope At Group Social Skills Program

Approval to undertake research is determined by the ethical aspects of submitted protocol, timeframes, and research design. Other important considerations for research approval include whether the proposed research:

  • Aligns with Hear and Say’s values, vision, and strategy
  • Involves an appropriate selection from the population
  • Impacts on children, parents, staff
  • Overlaps with other projects in progress
  • Is of benefit to Hear and Say
  • Has financial implications for Hear and Say

Prof Robert Cowan


Robert is the Chief Executive Officer and a Director of HEARing Cooperative Research Centre and HEARing CRC Limited. He has raised over $140 million in research funding and has published over 180 papers in the fields of audiology, cochlear implants and biomedical management. Robert holds several Australian and international technology patents and trademarks in these fields. In 2003, he was named Professional of the Year by Professions Australia. Robert is a professorial research fellow at The University of Melbourne and an Adjunct Professor at Macquarie University. He holds a PhD (Melbourne), MBA (TechMgt), and graduate diplomas in audiology, technology management and health economics, as well as a BSc(Hons) in Physiology (Queen’s). He is also a graduate member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Dr Shani Dettman

Shani is currently a senior lecturer at the Department of Audiology and Speech Pathology at The University of Melbourne. She is well known for her work demonstrating the efficacy of cochlear implants for infants younger than 12 months. Shani has authored and co-authored 51 journal articles, five book chapters, and over 200 conference papers. In 2005, she completed her PhD at The University of Melbourne by examining the relationship between the primary caregivers’ linguistic, semantic and prosodic input to the child and the child’s long-term communication outcomes. Shani was a lead researcher in past HEARing Cooperative Research Centres (CRC) and on the HEARing CRC extensions, “Seeds of language development” and “Therapies to improve language and literacy in hearing-impaired children”.

Dr Hannah Carter

Hannah is a health economist at the Australian Centre for Health Services Innovation, based at the Queensland University of Technology. Her background is in quantitative economics and her doctoral thesis explored the productivity related costs associated with premature mortality. She has previously worked on economic evaluations of large randomised controlled trials for cancer and cardiovascular disease. In her current role, she has developed specialist expertise in health services research and provides expert advice and guidance on research project design and methodology. A key focus of Hannah’s research is the development of models to explore complex health care problems and in turn provide meaningful results to inform real world decision making. She has extensive experience in conducing economic evaluations of health care interventions, in particular cost-effectiveness analysis, and her work has been widely published in leading clinical and public health journals.

Tracey Taylor

Tracey is a certified practicing Speech Pathologist and certified Auditory-Verbal Therapist. Tracey obtained an honours degree in Speech and Hearing Therapy from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2009. In South Africa Tracey worked in a paediatric state hospital, a specialized pre-school communication centre for children with hearing loss and worked as a part time clinical audiology tutor before moving to Australia in 2016 and joining Hear and Say. Tracey is a Team Leader in the Listening and Spoken Language team and has a special interest in supporting children and adults with their auditory learning post cochlear implantation.

Dr Kieran Flanagan

Kieran is a certified practicing speech pathologist with over 10 years’ clinical and research experience. He is a senior lecturer in speech pathology at The Australian Catholic University and an honorary research fellow at the Mater Research Institute. Kieran’s research has focused on language and its disorders, with a particular interest in psycholinguistic approaches. His research projects have included the study of prelinguistic skills in preterm infants through to language changes and intervention in Alzheimer’s disease.

Emma Rushbrooke

Emma is an audiologist and listening and spoken language specialist (certified Auditory-Verbal Therapist), specialising in implantable hearing technology and listening and spoken language therapy. Emma joined Hear and Say in March 2000 as an audiologist, then Clinical Manager from 2000 to 2006, before transitioning to her current role of Clinical Director in 2007. Emma provides oversight for the clinical programs at Hear and Say, including Listening and Spoken Language Therapy, Audiology, the Australian Microtia and Atresia Support Centre, WorldWide Training and Education, Group Social Skills programs and Research. Emma is passionate about providing the best possible family-centric support and delivering programs and services underpinned by evidence-based clinical practice and research.

Hear and Say collaborates with world-class researchers to undertake studies investigating clinical and social themes related to hearing loss. These projects contribute to the scientific literature discussing the health, developmental and societal impacts of hearing loss and improvement of intervention methods.

Research in action

Understanding How People Think and Feel
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Investigating the Social Capital of Adolescents Who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing
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Interested in being involved?

Hear and Say and our research collaborators often seek people who are willing to take part in our research studies. By participating in our research studies, you are playing a vital role in advancing our knowledge about hearing loss and specialised speech therapy.

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Completed research

Literacy Development in Children with Cochlear Implants
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Telepractice research
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Online learning

From tinnitus, to cytomegalovirus, to teaching kids with hearing loss – further your knowledge with our on demand webinars.

2022-23 Annual Report

Read about the 300 babies born with hearing loss in Australia each year, and how Hear and Say continued to change lives this year.

Celebrating powerful communicators

Four courageous children and clients of Hear and Say shared their stories at the inaugural Power of Speech event.

Workplace giving

“The program gives our staff a sense of pride in the company and for the work they do at Sci-Fleet." – Allison Scifleet, Guest Experience Manager, Sci-Fleet Motors.

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