Hearing Diagnostics Pic Jan 2022

Relaxation of Covid restrictions prompts Scottish-based hearing test developer to ask Central Belt volunteers to “lend an ear”

Mark McIntyre Archangels

The Scottish-based developer of a hearing test that could revolutionise hearing loss assessment globally is now appealing for volunteers to help trial its ground-breaking system.

Edinburgh-headquartered Hearing Diagnostics Limited, which is backed by Scottish business angel investment syndicate, Archangels, has developed a new type of hearing test during which the patient wears headphones fitted with a motion sensor and turns their head in response to random, multi-direction sounds. This test has proved to be more accurate than existing systems during pilot trials and is thought to be more resilient to tinnitus (ringing or buzzing sounds), imagined sounds and background noise.

Hearing Diagnostics’ co-founder and Chief Executive, Claudia Freigang PhD, is particularly concerned that some people who may have been shielding during the Covid-19 pandemic, or simply reluctant to undertake a close-quarter hearing test, may have allowed their hearing to deteriorate undetected.

Claudia Freigang said: “Now, more than ever before, we need a hearing test that is accessible, easy and reliable, which is what we believe we have developed at Hearing Diagnostics.”

With the recently announced relaxation in Covid restrictions, Hearing Diagnostics can now take its testing to its next phase and needs volunteers – some of whom will have hearing difficulties and others who don’t – to come forward and help the company prove the effectiveness of its hearing test.

Volunteers, who will be unpaid, need to be able to attend testing sessions in either central Glasgow or Edinburgh in the months of February, March or April 2022 and meet the following criteria:

  • aged between 25 and 75 years
  • if hearing loss is known: mild, mild-to-moderate, or moderate-to-severe hearing loss
  • no existing mobility restrictions.

They can volunteer by emailing: participants@hdiags.co.uk

Once this trial phase is complete, the system will be trialled by high street hearing aid retailers prior to a worldwide market launch.

The World Health Organization estimates that 466 million people worldwide experience hearing loss and that two thirds of all adults over the age of 70 experience this condition. However, an estimated 86% of those with hearing loss in the UK are unaware of it and yet early detection is key to its effective management.

Unmanaged hearing loss can lead to:

  • social isolation
  • depression and anxiety issues
  • early onset of dementia
  • job loss and economic hardship

Claudia Freigang added:

“Hearing loss, if left unmanaged, can have a debilitating impact on anyone’s life and we believe passionately that getting hearing care early can make living with hearing loss more manageable.

“That’s why we’ve developed this system, which is more robust and, we believe, more accurate than existing hearing tests. It doesn’t need an audiologist to conduct the test and can be undertaken outside of hospitals without the need for a soundproof booth. All these factors make our hearing test more accessible than ever before.

“Every volunteer who comes forward to ‘lend an ear’ will be making a significant contribution to making hearing loss diagnosis easier and more accessible for everyone else. They’ll also have the benefit of learning about their own hearing ability at the same time.”

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