Our centre conducts research relating to hearing loss, deafness and tinnitus. We work with Nottingham Audiology Services; the Nottingham University Hospital's Ear, Nose and Throat Department; the Nottingham Cochlear Implant Programme; the Medical Research Council Institute of Hearing Research and UK charities to explore ways to help people and families of those with hearing-related difficulties.
If you are a patient or carer, or perhaps a member of the public with an interest in hearing impairment, you are welcome to join us. You can contribute in the following ways:
As a participant
This is where you are recruited to take part in a clinical study. Recruiting enough suitable people for clinical studies is often one of the most difficult things to achieve. Your generous contribution of time as a participant would be much appreciated. Taking part could mean visiting our centre or a hospital for some tests or simply completing a questionnaire on your home computer. The level of commitment required between studies varies considerably!
Why is this important?
The data that you contribute to the research will provide more information on the underlying mechanisms of a hearing-related problem or it could strengthen the ‘evidence’ on which treatments for hearing-related difficulties are the most effective. This will help guide hearing-related treatments in the future.
How do I take part?
Please complete our ‘Get Involved’ form and someone will be in contact. The details you supply will be entered onto our participant database and be used to match you with the most relevant studies. When we start a new study we search the database for all those we believe may be suitable to take part.
You will be sent an e-mail or postal invitation together with the study information so you can decide if you wish to take part. You are never obliged to take part and will always be free to withdraw at any time. If you require communication support, such as an interpreter, please let us know what you need and we will provide it free of charge while you are taking part.
We will send you copies of our newsletter 3 times a year and may on occasion ask for your feedback on what we are doing. Your details will remain on the database until you advise us you wish to have them removed.
Will any costs be repaid?
For some studies we reimburse travel and parking costs and a small inconvenience allowance may be offered. Details are given in participant information sheets for each study.
By getting involved
As a member of the public, you have a lot to contribute to research. Not just as participants but also by partnering with researchers to improve research. This is where you can get involved in our studies and other activities.
INVOLVE defines public involvement in research as research being carried out ‘with’ or ‘by’ members of the public rather than ‘to’, ‘about’ or ‘for’ them. When using the term ‘public’ we include patients, potential patients, carers and people who use health and social care services as well as people from organisations that represent people who use services. Public involvement is often called PPI (Patient and Public Involvement).
Why is this important?
Your unique, personal experience of healthcare and/or a health condition can bring a valuable, fresh perspective to the research team. In short, you can help us produce good research.
Good research requires that it is relevant to patient need, made convenient for people to take part and measures the most appropriate things. It must also adequately inform people taking part and publicise results beyond the usual academic boundaries. This is so the public are quite rightfully informed about what is happening with public money and that recommendations for healthcare improvements become well known.
Through getting involved, you could for example:
- Work with us to prioritise research for the future
- Offer advice as members of a project steering group.
- Comment on, and recommend improvements, to research materials. Here, you can join us as a ‘lay assessor’.
- Join a focus group to discuss the early development of a research proposal.
- Work with us in developing our involvement and engagement work.
How do I get involved?
Indicate your interest when completing the ‘Get Involved’ form. Someone will then contact you to find out more.
Will any costs be repaid?
We reimburse travel and parking costs. In recognition of your time and contribution, honorary payments above expenses will be offered.
Engage with us
An important part of our public-facing activities is our engagement work. This is sometimes referred to as Patient and Public Engagement, or PPE.
Why is this important?
As a publicly-funded organisation, we have a moral duty to share what we do. Effective public engagement helps raise the profile of our centre, helps recruit people to get involved or take part in our studies and promotes the importance of research to our society. It also provides us the opportunity to listen to and learn from members of the public.
How do I find out about what you do?
To download our current and past newsletters, go to www.hearing.nihr.ac.uk/news/newsletters.
Like our Facebook page (search ‘Hearing’ in Facebook for NIHR Nottingham Hearing Biomedical Research Unit page).
Follow us on Twitter @hearingnihr
We believe in offering face-to-face opportunities for engagement, making research accessible, interactive hands-on and fun for all ages. Together with the Medical Research Council Institute for Hearing Research, we had a stand at the University of Nottingham’s May Fest 2015 event. Visitors to the University’s annual community open day had the opportunity to try out the many interactive demonstrations and tests that we have. Check out our photo album from the day!
We also held an open evening for public volunteer members of the Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust. Visitors chatted with our staff and students, whilst enjoying a tour of our premises and various practical demonstrations. Associates at Nottingham Audiology, Nottingham Auditory Implant Services, Nottingham University Hospitals Charity and the Ear Foundation were also on-hand to share their work.
What We Do
Our current research areas include:
Mild-to-moderate hearing loss
Hearing aids don’t offer a perfect replacement for normal hearing but they really do help. We are exploring ways to make things easier for hearing aid users. We are also developing other ways of improving support for people with hearing loss.
Severe-to-profound hearing loss
Cochlear implants are one of the major success stories in restoring a sense of hearing to profoundly deaf people. Our research aims to improve the benefit that children and adults gain from these devices.
Tinnitus and hyperacusis
Tinnitus is ringing or other noises in the ears. Hyperacusis is sensitivity to sound. We are exploring new treatments and looking at how to maximise the benefits of current NHS management options.
Hearing loss and tinnitus caused by medical treatments
Some treatments (for example, platinum-based cancer drugs) can damage hearing and cause tinnitus. We shall work to understand the impact this can have on patients and ways to try and reduce the effects.
We are investigating the effects of hearing loss on the make-up and organisation of the brain. We do this using functional Near-infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS) to see the brain in action.
Measures for clinical trials
We want to improve the quality of evidence for hearing-related treatments. We are doing this by developing consensus among patients and professionals about what is important to measure and how to measure it. The list of measures is called a Core Outcome Set.
We are keen for our research to benefit patients both now and in years to come and we need your help to do this. Please join us!