Why are babies in SCNs/NICUs at higher risk of permanent hearing loss?

Research Opportunity
PhD students
Department / Centre
Royal Children’s Hospital/Murdoch Childrens Research Institute
Primary Supervisor Email Number Webpage
A/Prof Valerie Sung valerie.sung@mcri.edu.au Personal web page
Co-supervisor Email Number Webpage
Dr Jing Wang jing.wang@mcri.edu.au
Dr Peter Carew pcarew@unimelb.edu.au

Summary Why are babies in SCNs/NICUs at higher risk of permanent hearing loss?

Project Details

This PhD offers potential for practice changes that could improve lifelong hearing for infants admitted to SCNs/NICUs. Supervised by leading researchers in children's hearing loss, epidemiology, paediatrics and audiology, it offers immense opportunities to establish a career and leadership in transformative newborn and child hearing loss research within the GenV initiative and beyond.

Around one in five liveborn babies require admission to a special care nursery (SCN) or neonatal care unit (NICU). Admission to SCN/NICU is a known risk factor for permanent hearing loss. Compared to healthy babies, those admitted to NICUs are at 8 times the risk of hearing loss, with many hypothesized and interacting causal factors including immaturity, anaemia, infection/inflammation, ototoxic drugs, environmental noise, jaundice, intracranial haemorrhage/encephalopathy, hypoxia and genetic susceptibility. Large sample sizes and variations in care that equate to natural experiments are needed to clarify causal pathways and thence effective prevention and treatment.

This PhD project will be conducted within the 'Generation Victoria' cohort, the only mega-birth cohort now recruiting internationally, targeting all 150,000 Victorian births over two years from 2021 and encompassing Victoria's 5 NICUs and 40 SCNs. You will help set up a new statewide SCN data registry within GenV within which you will study critical SCN/NICU causal to hearing loss, including objective measurement of noise in each SCN/NICU.

Faculty Research Themes

Child Health

School Research Themes

Child Health in Medicine

Research Opportunities

PhD students
Students who are interested in joining this project will need to consider their elegibility as well as other requirements before contacting the supervisor of this research

Graduate Research application

Honours application

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact a supervisor.

Department / Centre


Research Node

Royal Children’s Hospital/Murdoch Childrens Research Institute

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