Research Reveals ‘Dead Region’ Inside Inner Ear

Some new research has revealed the ‘dead regions’ inside an inner ear which causes deafness.

Deafness Research UK alongside Brian Moore, a Professor of Auditory Perception at the University of Cambridge, embarked on a pioneering project to greater understand why hearing aids such as a phonak hearing aid or an oticon hearing aid do not work for everyone as well as they should.

The study has exposed the secrets of dead regions of the cochlea which are area with complete loss of function and hearing impairment.

Hearing aids like widex hearing aid do not restore hearing but in fact only help the areas not yet ‘dead’; but hearing tests often miss these regions.

However, findings by Moore have led to development of a rapid clinical test for detecting the presence of these dead regions- known as the ‘Psychophysical Tuning Curves (PTC) test. It measures the extent of these dead regions much more precisely than previous existing tests.

Vivienne Michael, Chief Executive of Deafness Research UK, said: “Professor Moore’s work is vital in that it is leading to tangible benefits for those people who rely on hearing aids right now.

“Funding the development of tests of auditory function such as this that have a clinically applicable element is an important part of our work and thanks to the new PTC test, many more people who rely on hearing aids are going to benefit from enhanced performance and enhanced hearing ability.”

The project was funded by Deafness Research UK, Professor Moore and Professor Aleksander Sek. The PTC test runs on personal computers and is ready to use in clinics immediately.

Professor Moore explained: “This research gives us access to more accurate information about individual patterns of hearing loss at different frequencies and about the extent of dead regions, in turn enabling better fitting of hearing aids.”

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