I am keenly interested in improving hearing health care worldwide, especially in low- and middle-income countries. I have been involved in the development of low-cost cochlear implants that could be widely applied in many of those countries, and I have been a leading participant in multiple efforts to identify the barriers to better hearing health care and possible ways to surmount the barriers. Professor Debara Tucci and I have served as the principal outside experts for efforts in India to improve hearing health there, and we have served as consultants to the past President of India, Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam. In 2010, Professors Tucci, Merson, and I were the authors of a paper published in Otology & Neurotology, "A summary of the literature on global hearing impairment: current status and priorities for action." More recently, we and Professor Gerard O'Donoghue at the University of Nottingham in the UK assessed hearing loss and hearing health care worldwide and the result was published in 2017 as a commissioned review in The Lancet, with the title "Global hearing health care: new findings and perspectives." We are following up with a much larger team of experts in the relevant areas to rein in the high and ever-growing burden of hearing loss, which now is the third largest contributor to years lived with disability worldwide.
In prior work, I was one of the principal developers of the cochlear implant, a device that can enable highly useful hearing for previously deaf or severely hearing impaired persons.