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Aid boost for hearing research

Research at the University of Essex into aiding people with hearing impairments has won a grant of nearly half a million pounds.

Professor Ray Meddis of the Department of Psychology and his team of Wendy Lecluyse and Robert Ferry, have been awarded £447,000 by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Funding council to develop a computerised hearing dummy. In addition, they have been given £50,000 by the Deafness Research Council.

Professor Meddis said: 'The project allows us to make more extensive measurements of people's hearing to get a more detailed understanding of what is wrong when people are not hearing well.

'Then we will have a better idea of what remedies can be applied and improved diagnosis will help audiologists take better advantage of recent technological developments.'

The team is keen to hear from anyone with hearing impairments who would like to take part in their research, which initially involves a short hearing test.

The hearing dummy consists of a computer programme that simulates individual people's hearing ability and disability. The computer can then take the place of the person during testing, so that the appropriate hearing aid can be created. Currently people are given hearing aids and then return for adjustments until it is deemed to be working appropriately.

Professor Meddis has been examining how the ear works for over 20 years. During this time he has created an effective computer model for normal hearing. The planned research will be used to adapt the computer model to simulate hearing difficulties.

Anyone who would like to volunteer should contact Professor Meddis via e-mail on

Sarah Mills | alfa
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