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A Novel Toolkit for the Early Diagnosis of Hearing Impairment (EDHI)
Funder: European CommissionProject code: 101102593 Call for proposal: HORIZON-MSCA-2022-PF-01
Funded under: HE | HORIZON-TMA-MSCA-PF-EF\HORIZON-AG-UN Funder Contribution: 181,153 EUR

Approximately 40–60% of the European population is at risk of developing hearing loss due to exposure to unsafe noise levels. The EDHI fellowship will develop a novel toolkit sensitive to the first signs of hearing loss – appropriate for use as an early diagnostic. This objective will be achieved by (1) ideating innovative behavioural and neurophysiological tests that will provide novel biomarkers of hearing performance, and (2) developing an automatic classifier that estimates the degree of hearing damage based on these biomarkers. The encouraging pilot data obtained to date, along with the background experience of the applicant and supervisor in developing advanced signal-processing methods and conducting hearing research situate them in an optimal position to conduct the planned research. This fellowship has the potential to transform current clinical practice by providing clinicians with the necessary tools to diagnose hearing disorders that are currently undetected in approximately 1 out of 10 patients. The early diagnosis of hearing difficulties will enable the provision of individualised recommendations to ameliorate a person’s hearing difficulties and prevent any further deterioration, thus reducing the risk of social isolation, anxiety, depression and dementia. Further, a ‘hearing-pathology demonstrator’ will be developed for use in outreach activities to increase awareness amongst the general population of the adverse impacts of hearing loss, and to assist policy makers in the design of effective prevention strategies. In addition, this fellowship lays the groundwork for a substantial bidirectional transfer of knowledge with the host institution and provides the opportunity to engage with top hearing-related industry partners who have an interest in the commercial exploitation of this technology.

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