The European Union is giving research into hearing and hearing loss a high priority with grants of Euro12.5 million (US$15 million) for the Eurohear project.
The five-year research project is to provide fundamental knowledge about the development and function of the inner ear and identify the molecular defects underlying hereditary hearing impairments.
Twenty-two academic institutions from ten different countries are working in partnership on the project, bringing together 250 scientists around the world.
The joint research is set to end in 2009.
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