Hearing loss is one of the major health concerns worldwide. There are more than 10 million people in the UK with some form of hearing loss, (over 15% of the population). Factors well recognized to cause permanent hearing impairment are ageing and exposure to loud noise. With the alarming increase in environmental noise coupled with an ageing population the impact of hearing dysfunction is set to become an even greater health concern for the European community in the near future.
The project is based on recently discovered principles of cochlear excitation by near-field sound pressure. A computer model for stimulation of the cochlea through the cochlear round window will be developed. The model will be used to develop an algorithm for optimal placement of the probe on the round window to maximise cochlear stimulation. Experimental findings in animal models will be compared with model predictions. This comparison will allow their computational models for better prediction of the optimal design of prosthesis. When the required degree of agreement between the experimental data and the model predictions is achieved, the same refined computational approach could be used to predict the optimal design of prosthesis in humans, thereby skipping the experimental stage because the same level of experimental intervention is not possible in humans.
This project commenced in October 2017 and will end in October 2021.
The aim of the project is to develop a novel, easily implantable middle year prosthesis for treatment of conductive/mixed hearing losses and to develop algorithm for its implantation. Principles of cochlear stimulation developed during the project could be applied more broadly to other prosthetic devices to ameliorate hearing in patients with hearing dysfunction.
EPSRC funded PhD studentship
Successful completion of the project should lead to a better understanding of hearing loss of different genesis and new treatment methods. The approaches we intend to take and the novel methodology we will employ should be of interest to investigators in a wide range of research fields that are concerned with biomechanics and properties of biological materials.
Institute of Sound and Vibration Research, University of Southampton