UCL Ear Institute


Community network for deaf scientists

9 May 2017

In January a letter published in Science proposed an institutional hub for deaf and hard of hearing (D/HH) trainees to build their scientific careers. 

Responding to this, Dr. Lisa Nolan and Dr. Jonathan Gale contributed to a letter written by fellow colleagues of Hearing Impaired ARO (HI-ARO). It detailed the work undertaken by HI-ARO in building an inclusive community of D/HH scientists and was subsequently published in Science's pages. 

Commenting on the process and highlighting some of HI-ARO's important support structures Lisa Nolan has said:

"I am delighted to see our letter in print in Science magazine regarding HI-ARO, a community network for deaf scientists! HI-ARO was established in 1992 with a handful of hearing impaired members of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology and has since expanded to well over 60 members. I myself, am profoundly deaf and first became aware of HI-ARO back in 2006 when I was studying for my PhD in molecular genetics of adult onset hearing loss at UCL. Knowing that there was a support network of scientists in a similar position to myself that also had to contend with the daily challenges imposed by working in a dynamic scientific environment with a hearing loss was invaluable. During the early stages of my scientific career at UCL I did not have captioning support for lectures, seminars, or meetings. Instead, my PI and colleagues rallied round with note taking support. However, when I attended international conferences to present my work such as the annual midwinter meeting for the ARO captioning support for the oral presentations was always available largely in part, I believe, due to the behind the scenes work of the HI-ARO. These days HI-ARO continue to be a wealth of new information and support and I now use real-time captioning via Skype for scientific meetings and seminars (see www.mycleartext.com) which is funded through Access to Work and in part, by UCL. Moving forward into the future as I and my HI-ARO peers strive to secure research fellowships and faculty positions in this rather uncertain scientific climate, I think that the support and mentorship provided by HI-ARO will prove most crucial."

Dr. Lisa Nolan is an Action on Hearing Loss Pauline Ashley New Investigator

Read the published letter 

Learn more about HI-ARO