Frequently Asked Questions

What is temporal bone donation?

Temporal bone donation involves the after death surgical removal of a small part of the temporal bone, containing the inner ear, from patients with balance disorders, and/or hearing disorders, and/or the recipients of cochlear implants. The purpose of the donation is for medical research; to identify balance and hearing defects at a microscopic level, to determine the cause of the patient’s disorder(s), and thereby improve medical knowledge and treatment for living patients.

Will temporal bone donation alter my appearance?

No, the appearance of the face, outer ear, and head is not changed. As a result, temporal bone donation has no impact on the use of open caskets.

Do I have to be under a particular age to be a temporal bone donor?

No, there is no age limit for this type of donation.

Is there a cost to my family?

There is no cost to the donor or their family for the transportation of the temporal bone donor for the surgical removal of the temporal bone, the surgery, or research.

Do I need to pass away in hospital to be a temporal bone donor?

Temporal bone donation is possible if you pass away at home, however there are time limits (within a few days) for the surgical removal of the temporal bone.

Do I need to live in Melbourne to be a temporal bone donor?

The Australian Temporal Bone Bank is national; however the surgical removal of the temporal bone is dependent on the timely availability (within a few days) of Ear, Nose, and Throat Surgeons.

Will my family be informed of the results of the research?

You may provide written consent upon registering as a temporal bone donor for your family/significant others to be informed of the results of the research.

Can I donate my organs as well as my temporal bones?

Yes. Where a patient donates their organs, removal of organs would be performed prior to the removal of the temporal bone.

Can I donate my body to science as well as my temporal bones?

You would need to check with the university that you wish to donate your body to.

I have received successful treatment for my balance and/or hearing disorder. Does this mean I should not donate my temporal bones?

Temporal bones from patients who have received successful treatment are as important as those from patients who have not been successfully treated.

What does the genetic testing involve and how is it conducted?

Upon registering, you can elect to donate a DNA sample, consisting of a saliva or blood sample. When the temporal bones are examined, if there is an abnormality that appears to have a genetic component, your DNA sample will be analysed, which may result in early detection of the disease for your siblings/children/grandchildren. If the DNA sample is not analysed it will be disposed of.

How do I register as a temporal bone donor?

Further information and registration forms can be downloaded from this site in the section on Register as a Temporal Bone Donor under Gifting Your Temporal Bone

If you have further questions, please email the Society at or fill in the contact form