Researchers use specially adapted van to study benefits of hearing technology in children
Academics from the University of Manchester will be travelling around the country this year to test whether infants are benefiting from their hearing aids. The researchers will be visiting the homes of 200 families, rather than expecting parents and young children to travel to them, in a bid to increase the number of people able to take part in the study.
This innovative project, part of a study co-designed with patients and parents, has been made possible by Marston Family Foundation funding for a mobile examination van that enables researchers to create lab conditions outside of a hospital or university research centre.
Professor Kevin Munro, who is leading the study, said: “The unique mobile hearing van will allow us to take our research to the families and this should mean more of them will be able to participate in this much needed study.”
Harjit Sandhu, Director of Policy at the NCHA, said: “It is great to see academics respond to the needs and wishes of study participants. Given between 0.1% and 0.3% of children have a hearing loss and some families have to travel considerable distances to access quality hearing services, this mobile model might also one day be the way children access high quality hearing care closer to home. This research is a great example for other researchers that struggle to obtain sufficient sample sizes in paediatric research.”
The van will travel across the country visiting infants at 3-6 months of age; the same babies will then be revisited at 7-9 months so that the research findings can be compared with the traditional hearing test. The results are expected to be published 2018.