The Temporal Bone Donor Society Inc. is an Australian health promotion charity established in 2014, and is in partnership with the Australian Temporal Bone Bank. The Society provides a community base for temporal bone donation, whilst the Bank conducts the temporal bone research. The Society aims to increase awareness of the after life donation of the temporal bone, containing the middle and inner ear, for research purposes, in order to investigate the cause of the patient’s balance and/or hearing disorder, as well as the positive impact of cochlear implants on speech. It is the only organisation in the world established to promote temporal bone donation that is not a temporal bone bank.
As the inner ear cannot be biopsied during life, temporal bone donation is essential for doctors to learn more about balance and hearing disorders, the impact of cochlear implants, and for the development of new and more effective treatments for balance and hearing disorders. Some crucial research gains have already been made through temporal bone donation; because it assists doctors to investigate exactly what parts of the inner ear are effected by different conditions, and then tailor treatments accordingly.
We work closely with our partner the Australian Temporal Bone Bank, which is based at the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital, and is the only facility in Australia able to analyse temporal bones. The Society is seeking endorsements from all of the major religious and culturally and linguistically diverse communities in Australia, and will be developing protocols with these communities. We will be conducting educational forums for these communities, as well as local communities, and specific patient groups affected by balance and/or hearing disorders. We also provide training for general practitioners and allied health professionals about the treatment of balance and hearing disorders, which is conducted by expert medical specialists.
Having a balance and/or hearing disorder is frustrating, and frequently impacts on quality of life and mental health. These disorders also impact the patients’ families/significant others. Imagine if collectively, we could reduce the rates of balance and hearing disorders in Australia, improve the cochlear implant, and pave the way for future generations to have a much easier time with these disorders. Temporal bone donation may provide this important opportunity.
Dr Tamar Black
Founder and President, and Executive Committee Member
Temporal Bone Donor Society Inc.