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Optimising outcomes for children with unilateral hearing loss

   UCL Ear Institute

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  Dr H Cooper  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

For children with unilateral hearing loss (UHL), hearing aid fitting for the poor ear is a common management strategy and there is some evidence that this is beneficial for sound localisation and quality of life. Although hearing aid fittings for children with UHL are routinely verified using paediatric prescription formulae, there are no standardised outcome measures for validating these fittings. This means that audiologists are unable to determine whether hearing aid fitting is beneficial for an individual child and whether changes to hearing aid settings will result in improvement or detriment in hearing and quality of life.  

This PhD will develop an evidence-based hearing aid fitting, validation and evaluation protocol for children with UHL. This protocol will be developed in partnership with end-users to ensure it can be implemented within audiology departments both in the UK and internationally.

Objectives and methods

  1. Determine sensitive tools to assess hearing aid benefit for children with UHL We are currently conducting a systematic review to evaluate the evidence for measuring hearing aid outcome for children with UHL. The student will use this review as a basis for identifying potential speech tests and questionnaires to assess benefits in speech recognition and patient reported outcomes.
  2. Develop a protocol that can be implemented into NHS audiology clinics We will use a person-based approach to design a protocol in partnership with clinicians, parents and children so it is likely to be used in clinical practice.
  3. Pilot the protocol in NHS clinics The protocol will then be evaluated in a clinical setting with children who are being fitted with hearing aids for UHL.

Key requirements

The successful PhD candidate will be involved in planning of experiments, recruiting and testing participants, collecting and analysing data, reporting the results for publication and writing a thesis. The student will also be expected to act as a demonstrator for our degree programmes in Audiology for up to 180 hours a year. This will include helping to teach practical skills to audiology students on our undergraduate and post-graduate courses.

Candidates must have a first or upper-second class UK Bachelor’s degree or a Master’s degree in Audiology or a closely related field, or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard from a recognised higher education institution. Both the project and demonstrator role require clinical competence in adult audiology and therefore current registration with RCCP, AHCS or HCPC is desirable. Experience in paediatric audiology is desirable but not required and necessary training will be provided.

The PhD is available on a full-time or part-time basis.

To apply

Please submit applications to Hannah Cooper ([Email Address Removed]) in the following format:

  1. Your CV.
  2. Personal statement (600 words maximum) outlining (i) why you are applying for this PhD, (ii) what makes you the ideal candidate, (iii) your experience.
  3. Name and contact details for 2-3 referees.

Informal inquiries can be directed to Hannah Cooper and Amanda Hall ([Email Address Removed]). Shortlisted candidates will be contacted for interview in early September.

Funding Notes

Includes a tax free stipend commencing at £17,983 per annum (2022/23 rate, increasing in Years 2 and 3), tuition fees at the home rate, together with research project costs. Applications from both UK and international students are welcome but fees are only covered at the home rate, overseas students would need to provide additional funding to top up to the overseas rate.

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