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  Health Science: Fully Funded Swansea University PhD: An investigation of modern technology in hearing aids: the benefits of binaural beamforming to spatial hearing


   School of Health and Social Care

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  Dr Barry Bardsley  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Funding providers: Swansea University's Faculty of Medicine, Health and Life Science

Subject areas: Audiology, Psychoacoustics, Signal Processing, Psychology, Engineering, Computer Science 

Project start date: 

  • 1 July 2024 (Enrolment open from mid-June)

Project supervisors:

Aligned programme of study: PhD in Health Science

Mode of study: Full-time

Project description: 

The Faculty of Medicine, Health and Life Science is pleased to offer a fully-funded scholarship for a full-time doctoral student.

The scholarship includes tuition fees and a stipend – reviewed annually at the UKRI standard rate – and a £1,000 annual training allowance to support immersive training experiences, conference attendance, engagement with industry and international collaborative opportunities.  

The scholarship is offered for a maximum period of three years; students are expected to submit their theses within this timescale.  

Hearing loss is common in the UK, with one in five of the population living with some form of hearing impairment. Hearing aids (HAs) provide a partial solution to the problem, but the performance of the HA when the wearer is in a noisy environment is often lower than expected, because of a poor signal-to-noise ratio (SNR).  

One of the best strategies used for improving the SNR is a directional microphone (DM), which provides reduced sensitivity for sounds from behind and to the side of the listener. Modern developments have resulted in two HAs being able to communicate with each other and improve this directional sensitivity (referred to as binaural beamforming, BB). In laboratory settings BB reveals significant benefit in speech intelligibility in noise, but this is not reflected in the patient reported outcomes.  Why is there a discrepancy between these two measures on BB performance and how may this inform device/software design? Through simulation (headphones) and more realistic means (loudspeakers), measures of spatial hearing performance of HA users, using different DM settings, will be investigated. This gives Improved intelligence on barriers to BB benefits and target improved performance of HAs users in complex listening environments. 

Informal scholarship enquiries from applicants to prospective supervisors – prior to the application deadline – are warmly encouraged; please direct these to the relevant member/s of faculty staff.  

Eligibility

Candidates must hold a UK bachelor’s degree with a minimum of Upper Second Class honours or overseas bachelor’s degree deemed equivalent to UK honours (by UK ECCTIS) and achieved a grade equivalent to UK Upper Second Class honours, and a master’s degree. Alternatively, applicants with a UK First Class honours degree (or Non-UK equivalent as defined by Swansea University) not holding a master’s degree, will be considered on an individual basis. You can check our comparison entry requirements. Please note that you may need to provide evidence of your English Language proficiency.  

English Language: IELTS 6.5 Overall (with no individual component below 6.5) or Swansea University recognised equivalent. 

This scholarship is open to candidates of any nationality.

Medicine (26) Nursing & Health (27)

Funding Notes

This scholarship covers the full cost of tuition fees and an annual stipend of £18,622.

Additional research expenses will also be available. 


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