Bioengineering devices for the treatment of hearing loss

Project Details


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 ESPRC-funded project was 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 was developed. The model was used to develop an algorithm for optimal placement of the probe on the round window to maximise cochlear stimulation.

Experimental findings in animal models were compared with model predictions. This comparison allowed 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.

Key findings

Successful completion of the project led to a better understanding of hearing loss of different genesis and new treatment methods. The approaches and the novel methodology employed should be of interest to investigators in a wide range of research fields that are concerned with biomechanics and properties of biological materials.
Effective start/end date1/10/1730/09/21


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