Deafness research body hires first comms chief

The UK's only national deafness research charity has taken on its first head of communications in a bid to secure more donations and highlight its progress in finding a cure for hearing loss.

David Reid took the post at Deafness Research UK after quitting his role as head of media at the Institute of Physics. He has been tasked with boosting the charity's funding capacity.

'A cure for deafness may be available in as little as five years,' said Reid. 'Research into implants, digital hearing aids and "deafness genes" has enabled huge strides in combating deafness over the past 20 years.

'The UK is at the cutting edge of this, so now is the time to raise awareness with the public and the scientific community of the funding work we do. We want to become as synonymous with hearing loss research as Cancer Research UK is with cancer research.'

The charity is represented at a number of research centres around the country, and is particularly keen to send more scientists to UCL's year-old £9m Ear Institute in London.

Reid, who reports to chief executive Vivienne Michael, said increasing corporate donors would also be 'a priority', and consumer campaigns are being planned to attract individual donors.

Media relations will centre on national press, health titles and various consumer magazines.

Although carrying similar messages to the RNID's 'Breaking the Sound Barrier' campaign, aimed at destigmatising hearing aids, Reid said Deafness Research UK campaigns would focus on boosting research.

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