Can You Hear Me?

On Friday 11th May Dr Louisa Murdin and Mark Sladen delivered a lecture to students on hearing loss and the advancements being made to try to remedy this common and debilitating issue.

Alan Hamda writes below about what he learned.

On Friday 11th May an audiologist and doctor delivered a lunchtime lecture on hearing impairment and how "big data" can be used to improve the lives of those suffering. The speakers opened up with the shocking statistic that one-in-four people will suffer from some form of hearing impairment in their lifetime with the most obvious reason being hearing loss that is acquired due to age, also known as presbycusis.

This type of hearing loss diminishes ones ability to recognise pitches of a high frequency. A quick tour of the anatomy of the ear provided us with a better insight into the mechanisms by which sound is registered by ears and then processed by the brain. The cochlea (part of the inner ear) is lined with thousands of hair cells that are responsible for amplifying sounds. The progressive degeneration of the cochlea is what leads to hearing loss. Hearing aids amplify the sounds prior to the processing by the brain, allowing sufferers to hear better.

Later, the speakers talked about the EVOTION project they were part of, which involved collecting vast quantities of data from those with hearing loss, to be studied and analysed in medical centres and universities in over 6 countries. Through this project they hope to monitor the effectiveness of different hearing loss treatments and ultimately use their findings to develop a public health policy regarding the use of hearing aids.

More information about the EVOTION project can be found here

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