Clinical Professor Catherine Birman

RIDBC Background

Clinical Professor Birman is one of the most experienced cochlear implant surgeons in the world, having performed more than 1,500 cochlear implant procedures for children and adults from three months to well over 90 years. A pioneer in the field of cochlear implants, particularly for children with complex medical conditions, paediatric and adult outcomes. Clinical Professor Birman is the Medical Director of the SCIC Cochlear Implant Program at RIDBC and a board member.

She has been a past Chairman of the NSW Australian Society of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, past Secretary of the Australian and New Zealand Society of Paediatric Otolaryngology Society and served on a number of hospital an NSW government committees. In 2017, she was awarded the New South Wales Premier’s Award for Woman of the Year. In 2018, she was awarded the ASOHNS Society Medal for Distinguished Contribution to the Art and Science of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery. Her career, charity and medical works have made her a trailblazer and inspiring role model for all women.

Clinical Professor Birman completed a Fellowship in 1997 in paediatric ENT and cochlear implantation. She has published extensively in the areas of cochlear implants, hearing loss and ENT. She is an invited speaker both nationally and internationally and has participated in a number of grands and clinical trials. Professor Birman is a Honorary Clinical Professor at Macquarie University and a Clinical Associate Professor with Sydney University. Her current research involves optimising cochlear implant outcomes and clinical trials of novel therapies.

Specialities and interests

Adult and paediatric cochlear implants; otology; hearing loss; and paediatric ENT


  • Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) (Sydney University)
  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) (Sydney University)
  • Fellowship of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (FRACS)
  • Australian Institute of Company Directors


  • Children’s Hospital at Westmead
  • Royal Prince Alfred Hospital
  • Sydney Adventist Hospital (SAN)
  • Macquarie University Hospital
  • Hornsby Hospital

Profile link and research articles

Macquarie University profile

Brett Lee and Professor Catherine Birman Interview

Progression of hearing performance following cochlear implant neurotrophin gene augmentation