Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs -- Hearing Restoration Research Program -- Focused Applied Research Award

Funding Agency:
Department of Defense

The FY18 HRRP FARA mechanism is intended to support applied research that will advance the diagnosis and treatment of auditory dysfunction where hearing sensitivity may be within normal limits but the individual’s capacity to listen and understand speech is substantially impaired. Such listening difficulties are often described using terms such as synaptopathy, hidden hearing loss, and central auditory processing disorders. These disorders can be triggered by exposure to loud noises such as those encountered on the battlefield or certain work environments. While these types of auditory dysfunction may severely affect the ability of a person to hear and interpret speech, they are not readily diagnosed by typical hearing tests. If a Service member cannot effectively hear battlefield communication and sounds, s/he may pose a danger to himself/herself, others in the unit, and the mission. There is a great need for validated and reliable techniques and methods to detect and assess these types of auditory dysfunction, especially techniques and methods that can be applied by a non-specialist (e.g., physician assistants, medics, or corpsmen) in the operational environment (e.g., a Forward Operating Base or a Battalion Aid Station) to quickly screen Service members for combat readiness. Techniques and methods are further needed to identify the component(s) of the auditory system or pathway that is (are) damaged. Interventions are needed to treat different types of damage (e.g., synaptopathy, central auditory processing disorder) or mitigate their adverse effects on hearing. It is expected that the diagnostic tools, tests, and treatments developed under the FARA would also benefit the general public by advancing hearing loss prevention/treatment and improving hearing health care for individuals in rural or remote deployed environments. 

• Pre-Application Deadline: July 17, 2018
• Application Submission Deadline:  November 8, 2018

Agency Website

Areas of Interest

To meet the intent of the award mechanism, all applications to the FY18 HRRP FARA must address research in the following Focus Area:

• Develop and/or validate techniques and methods to assess and/or treat auditory dysfunction as related to synaptopathy, hidden hearing loss, and central auditory processing disorders. Examples include, but are not limited to:

○ Diagnostic tools for use in forward or remote deployed settings to assess hidden hearing loss and to inform whether the individual’s hearing capability is sufficient to perform the duties of the job or work assignment;

○ Batteries of differential diagnostics tests that help determine the underlying pathophysiology of the auditory dysfunction;

○ Treatments for the various types of damage that result in the loss of hearing leading to decreased ability to adequately perform the duties of the job or work assignment.

Tinnitus or vestibular-related research is excluded.

Eligibility Requirements

Independent investigators at all academic levels (or equivalent) are eligible to submit applications. 



Amount Description

The anticipated direct costs budgeted for the entire period of performance for an FY18 HRRP FARA will not exceed $1M. Refer to Section II.D.5, Funding Restrictions, for detailed funding information. 

Funding Type



Junior Faculty
Medical Fellow/Resident
Post Doctoral Fellows


Medical - Basic Science
Medical - Clinical Science
Medical - Translational

External Deadline

July 17, 2018