Hearing loss has is a sad reality many servicemen and women face after serving our country. The following is a brief look at what life is like for a 26 year old Marine after returns to his wife and children after four years in the military and two combat tours in Afghanistan. During training, he wore the mandated hearing protection devices–but not in combat where high decibel gunshots, IED blasts, and explosions are both common and unpredictable.

Along with severe ringing, his noise-injured ears now have the hearing of an 80 year old. He has difficulty performing his job, hearing his children, and most likely, experiences changes to his emotional and mental state due to erratic and disrupted conversation.

40-60% of troops return with Noise Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL) caused by blast exposure resulting in the need for $1.1 billion in disability aid–growing 18% per year.

He is not alone. An estimated 26 million Americans are affected by NIHL. The most common cause is occupational noise experienced in construction, manufacturing, mining, oil and gas, or just being a normal teenager. We all know someone.

Worldwide, 350 million experience hearing loss. The people with hearing loss are often socially isolated.

Yet, progress is being made.

Watch as Dr. Richard Kopke describes two future solutions for noise-induced deafness. The first is a pill to prevent and treat hearing loss caused by excessive noise. The second is a treatment to regenerate lost sensory hair cells, which will restore hearing for most causes of nerve deafness, thereby restoring hearing for many people. The results will be less need for cochlear implants and other hearing devices, if successful.

At the Hough Ear Institute, research that once led to the improvement of hearing devices such as the cochlear implant and bone conductor implant has now led to cutting edge bio-medical solutions for hearing loss.

Imagine if there was a drug that a soldier could swallow immediately after an explosion that would prevent or heal hearing loss.

With your help, we are closer to achieving our mission. Your gift brings a solution that much closer.

HEI’s Research Leads to Results

1979: HEI is one of the first clinical sites in the world to implant the cochlear implant.

1980: HEI discovered the use of rare earth magnets as the magnetic coupling mechanism used today in all cochlear implants.

1980: HEI developed the first semi-implantable electromagnetic hearing device as an alternative to acoustic hearing aids.

1984: HEI researched and developed the first implantable bone conduction hearing device.

1986: HEI performed the first successful Cochlear Implant surgery on deaf and blind patient, Jo Helen Mann.

2001: HEI received FDA approval on an alternative to acoustic hearing aids, the SoundTech/Maxum System.

2006: HEI is first to publish on drug delivery to the inner ear with magnetic nanoparticles.

2012: HEI is first to demonstrate that antioxidants can protect against hearing loss caused by exposure to high intensity blasts.

2013: HEI is first to report mammalian inner ear hair cell regeneration in balance and auditory systems with nanoparticle technology.

2014: HEI discovers HPNO7 plus NAC reduces cochlear injury as well brain injury.

2014: Anticipate FDA Phase I study on the “Hearing/After Blast” treatment.



  • Taking the pill for deafness into clinical trials. NIHL treatment through FDA Phase II ~ $ 11.6 M
  • Taking the regeneration treatment through live animal testing for efficacy and safety studies ~ $ 2.1 M

Humanitarian & Education

  • Asked by a hospital in Vietnam to help start a cochlear implant program. One hospital has over 500 deaf children

Anticipating 85% Reduction in Government Grants

2017 Revenue Chart

Grants from the National Institutes of Health, the Office of Navel Research, and Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology made seven years of pre-clinical studies possible, and until now, HEI has had little need for traditional fundraising or donor-based programs to support the research.

We are experiencing a major paradigm shift in our revenue and expense model and are planning on an 85% reduction in grants available for research from the federal government.

As a result, we are now seeking grants from private foundations, companies, and private donors to support critical research. Will you consider helping others?