M. Charles Liberman, PhD, Honored with Prestigious Hearing Science Award

October 21, 2022

Dr. M. Charles LibermanM. Charles Liberman, PhD, the Harold F. Schuknecht Professor of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery at Harvard Medical School, has been awarded the Scientific Grand Prize from the France-based La Fondation Pour l’Audition.

Dr. Liberman, who previously served as the director of the Eaton-Peabody Laboratories at Mass Eye and Ear for more than 25 years, where he remains an investigator, forever changed the way experts understand the underlying causes of hearing loss when he co-discovered cochlear synaptopathy or “hidden hearing loss” in 2009. His research showed that people who have difficulties hearing in crowded environments have damage caused by aging and noise exposure that affected the synapses, which connect the hair cells to auditory nerve fibers and ultimately carry neural signals to the brain.

Since standard hearing tests called audiograms only measure hair cell function, this synaptic loss typically eludes the tests, inspiring the popular term “hidden hearing loss.”

Read the full press release and watch a video tribute to Dr. Liberman from the foundation.