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The SMART Transportation Division and Kansas University Medical Center (KUMC) recently partnered to conduct a hearing loss study.The organizations teamed up to provide active and retired union members with the most recent information and research on hearing health through regular newsletter articles, as well as access to state-of-the-art testing that can help the KUMC team determine the best treatment or device for hearing loss. They also plan to offer members an opportunity to participate in research.Sixty percent of the U.S. population has hearing loss, most of which can be attributed to noise exposure, SMART Transportation Division officials said in a news item posted on the union's website earlier this month. An international leader in hearing loss research, Dr. Hinrich Staecker of KUMC has been working for more than 20 years on a way to restore hearing, they said. Gene therapy might help those suffering from hearing loss to regain hearing, union officials said.An initial program soon will be launched in the Kansas City, Mo., area that will involve union members in the study. The SMART Transportation Division plans to eventually expand the program to satellite locations.