In the summer of 2020, the Capital Region of Denmark will consolidate all specialist treatment at a new hearing and balance centre at Rigshospitalet to help patients suffering from poor hearing and dizziness. This was decided by the Regional Council for the Capital Region of Denmark following a donation of DKK 40 million from William Demant Foundation to the new centre.
The Chairman of the Regional Council, Sophie Hæstorp Andersen (Social Democrats), looks forward to the region being able to gather the best specialists in the area and offer patients the best treatment.
"This new centre will be a great opportunity to help the many people suffering from either severe hearing loss or extremely uncomfortable dizziness. We can help them to a life without discomfort and difficulty," said Sophie Hæstorp Andersen.
The donation from William Demant Foundation is a unique opportunity to combine daily treatment with intensified research collaboration between the clinical world and the medico-technical world. The Technical University of Denmark is also part of the collaboration. With a total budget of around DKK 130 million, the hearing and balance centre will be able to provide better patient pathways and conduct research at the highest international level.
The highly specialised audiological treatment is currently taking place in the Rigshospitalet facility located in Gentofte (children and adults with a cochlear implant need), while traditional hearing aid treatment is at Bispebjerg Hospital. Patients with complicated audiological pathways can look forward to combined surgical and non-surgical treatment at the new centre, while at the same time benefitting from Danish medical science and engineering within medico-technical research, said Mads Klokker, Head of the Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery & Audiology at Rigshospitalet.
"We're very pleased that we can help patients by consolidating all patient pathways in a new and modern setting. The centre will be an international trailblazer, and we're extremely ambitious. Being able to contribute to our own 'medico-technical valley' with world-class research is unique. Denmark is a small country and we must therefore exploit the areas in which we're genuinely competent to benefit our patients and Danish society," said Mads Klokker.
He explained that the goal of the collaboration between the University of Copenhagen, the Technical University of Denmark, industry, patient organisations and the Capital Region of Denmark is to develop new technologies to treat hearing and balance problems.
DKK 10 million of the DKK 40 million from William Demant Foundation have been earmarked for research, whereas the remaining DKK 30 million will be spent on building.
The large donation for research will allow many research projects by postdocs as well as PhD students. According to Mads Klokker, these projects will conduct research into the use of cochlear implants, including adaptation to the Danish language, simultaneous electric-acoustic hearing in single-sided deaf patients and neuromonitoring in connection with cochlear implantation. Other important research areas are simulation and navigation ear surgery with a view to future robotic surgery, hearing adaptation strategies for patients with a hearing aid, as well as diagnosis and treatment strategies to treat dizziness.
William Demant Foundation promotes innovation and collaboration
Since its establishment in 1957, the main purpose of William Demant Foundation has been to support charitable causes and to support the commercial activities of the Demant Group. The Demant Group is a world leader in hearing healthcare and includes the companies Otican, Interacoustics and Oticon Medical.
The Chairman of William Demant Foundation, Lars Nørby Johansen, is proud to be able to contribute to the hearing and balance centre; a strategic and unique project within hearing healthcare.
"The centre will boost research and innovation within hearing health and strengthen collaboration between experts from the public and private sectors. One of our main tasks is to contribute to society, including support for research and development within audiology. We're therefore very proud to be able to launch this project with a considerable investment, thereby supporting our objective to improve the lives of people with hearing loss," said Lars Nørby Johansen.
Over the past ten years, William Demant Foundation has donated more than DKK 700 million to a string of different causes such as research and dissemination of knowledge about audiology, education for young people, social projects to help marginalised groups and initiatives to further art and culture.
Building has already started
The hearing and balance centre will be located in premises of 2,200 m2 in North Wing 2, which is the last phase of Rigshospitalet's new hospital building project. Early in the planning of the building project, the Capital Region of Denmark decided to invest in two additional floors for the skeleton building in North Wing 2. With the donation, these two floors can now be used for better treatment of patients with hearing loss or balance problems. The centre will be located right next to the Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery and Audiology, which will be moving into North Wing six months earlier. The new centre is expected to open in the summer of 2020.