The BAA Conference committee has started working on the programme for conference 2024, ready for launch in June.

In the meantime, look below at who presented at our 2023 event. Recordings of their presentation are gradually being uploaded for members in the Knowledge Hub.

2023 Speaker Abstracts

The 2023 Bamford Lecture will be presented by Claire Benton - UK Paediatric Audiology: climbing a mountain or climbing out of a hole

During the last two years paediatric audiology in the UK has become a subject of newspaper headlines with reports of significant failings in services. Could this have been predicted and how did this happen?

There have been significant changes to our training, education, commissioning, and quality assurance systems, over the last ten years, which may have been contributing factors. Given the National Deaf Children’s Listen Up campaign figures would suggest there are around three thousand ‘missing’ deaf children, have we yet realised the whole issue or are there still services out there requiring support.

As a profession have we done enough to assure ourselves, and those who use our services, that the quality of our work is of a high enough standard?

During an incredibly challenging time for audiologists and services, how do we all move on from this and turn the intense focus on the profession into an opportunity for all?

Whilst not claiming to have the answers to all these questions, stopping the day-to-day tasks long enough to ask them and start the difficult conversations, may just mean we reach the end of the beginning of the challenge.

Consultant Clinical Scientist (Audiology), Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust.

Claire has worked within Audiology for over 25 years. Most of this time has been within the Audiology department at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust. She has always worked clinically in paediatrics, previously being the Clinical Lead for Paediatrics for 11 years, and more recently Head of Service for the department since 2018. Having been part of the British Society of Audiology’s working group, which developed the joint BSA/BTA Guidelines for assessing and managing tinnitus in Children, Claire has specialised in working with children with tinnitus and hyperacusis for the past 10 years.

Claire is a Board Director for BAA, leading our World Congress of Audiology 2028 project. She also presents BAA on one of the NHS England Working Groups reviewing the current issues in Paediatric Audiology.

Keynote Lecture - The power to make a difference - Ian Baines, NHS Horizons

Ian will talk through how different approaches to change are needed in a world that finds itself much more connected than it has ever been.

The talk will focus on aspects of visioning the future, power and collaboration, the aim being to stimulate participants to potentially think differently about how they approach changes they want to make in their own work environment.

Innovations in behavioural hearing testing in infants: machine learning and validation of non-standard stimuli for clinical use

Associate Director (NHS Horizons). Ian is an accountant by background. Throughout his professional ‘numbers’ career, he was passionate about supporting people and teams to realise their potential. Having been an NHS Director of Finance for seven years, Ian changed career direction in 2015 to work in organisational development supporting the integration of three Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs). Ian joined the NHS Horizons Team in 2018 and is a member of Horizon’s Senior Leadership Team.

Ian’s work is varied and includes leading large complex transformation programmes, developing teams and partnerships, providing insight into business processes, organisational development and reflection on local NHS working.

Innovations in behavioural hearing testing in infants: machine learning and validation of non-standard stimuli for clinical use - Anisa Visram

Some infants do not condition well under standard Visual Reinforcement Audiometry (VRA) procedures, leading to poor or unreliable performance. Anecdotal evidence suggests the use of sounds and images that are familiar and meaningful to these infants (such as those from a favourite TV show, for example) can improve response behaviour. However, evidence to support the use of such alternative procedures is lacking, as is research into how to interpret results from them. Our project has two broad aims. First, to identify effective candidates of non-standard auditory and visual stimuli to be used in an alternative VRA procedure. Auditory stimuli should be filtered according to known acoustic characteristics, to allow a defined diagnostic application. Second, to explore the use of machine-learning technology in the measurement and classification of response behaviour. This novel approach has potential applications for automation of aspects of VRA procedures, as well as for reducing subjectivity and risk of bias in other behavioural tests such as behavioural observation audiometry (BOA). In addition to the VRA-related studies, this project also investigates the use of automated classification of response behaviour in a BOA task with infants under 7 months of age.

Anisa Visram is a Lecturer in Audiology at Manchester Centre for Audiology and Deafness. She has a background in clinical and research audiology with a special interest in improving paediatric clinical practice.

A step on the ladder: Outcome Measures in Paediatrics - Dr Gareth Smith

There are many rungs on the ladder of successful paediatric habilitation; outcome evaluation is one of those rungs.  The use of standardised, evidence-based outcome measures provides parents and professionals a way to track-progress, identify when expected goals are not being met, and in turn, support appropriate management changes.  The BAA identifies the need for outcome measures within the 2022 Paediatric Quality Standards.  This presentation will focus on the purpose of outcome measures, the commonly used instruments and uses case-studies to highlight the information they can provide to support management approaches.


Dr Gareth Smith PgCert MSc AuD BSAFP

Gareth is a Consultant Clinical Scientist based at Southend Hospital, within Mid & South Essex NHS Foundation Trust.  He is an editor of ENT & Audiology News, a trade publication with a distribution of 17,000 copied in 140 countries.

With a keen interest in professional affairs, Gareth has held a number of positions, including Secretary to the British Society of Audiology and President of the British Academy of Audiology, as well as serving as a member of the NHS England national quality improvements in hearing services working group, looking at the paediatric workforce.  Locally, he chairs the paediatric audiology network.

Gareth has a keen interest in the advanced clinical practice of audiologists. He has published and presented on MRI scanning for audiologists, cCMV swabbing, and requesting blood testing for sensorineural hearing loss.

He has published on SII in clinical practice; winning the BAA’s Jos Millar Shield.  Recent publications include topics such as cochlear implant candidacy in a district-general hospital, home testing using apps, and a book chapter on communicating in healthcare environments.

Internationally, as well as the editorial position, Gareth sits on the Knowledge & Implementation in Paediatric Audiology (KIPA) Europe group, which works to produce and disseminate knowledge across European countries.

He has been an Honorary Lecturer for the paediatric courses at UCL and an external examiner on the HSST programme for Manchester University. He has sat on the Scientific Programme Committee for the BSA conference and chaired many conference sessions for many organisations.

In 2020, Gareth was recognised for his international and national impact by the British Society of Audiology, who made him a Principal Fellow, and in 2022 won a Mid & South Essex ‘Shine Award’ for leadership.

Plugging leaks across the pipeline of hearing healthcare for older adults – strategies and challenges - Dr Saima Rajasingam

The pipeline of hearing healthcare is a leaky one. Recent analysis of English Longitudinal Study of Ageing Wave 7 (Tsimpida et al,. 2023) alongside the most recent Eurotrak (2022) has shown that there are multiple stages at which people seeking help for hearing difficulties leave the pathway, without successfully obtaining any support for their hearing loss. Despite the general perception that most people decline hearing aids, those who manage to access audiology services do generally decide to try and continue to use their hearing aids (78.9%, Tsimpida et al, 2023). However there seem to be a number of obstacles that prevent them from reaching this point, including issues around (1) acknowledgment of hearing loss, (2) disclosure to their primary care provider and (3) onward referral.

This presentation will discuss the “leaks” in more detail, the most recent evidence around potential solutions and the need for high quality clinical research to address barriers to treatment; in particular, around acknowledgement, reporting and referral of hearing loss by both individuals and primary healthcare providers.

Following her graduation with a BSc (Hons) in Audiology from University College London, Saima obtained her PhD in Auditory Perception at Aston University. Saima’s research interests include multi-sensory impairment and deafblindness, the role of healthcare communications in promoting help-seeking behaviour for hearing loss, remote audiological care and hearing technologies for communication in ‘noisy’ environments. She is an Audiologist and Hearing Aid Dispenser, with experience in the NHS and private sector. She maintains her clinical practice at Cubex Audiology and is a Fellow of the British Society of Audiology (FBSA).  Saima currently has a match-funding PhD student with DeafBlind UK for a PhD, whose work is focussed on improving social and academic success for children with dual sensory impairment. She leads ARU’s Applied Hearing Research Hub (Vision and Hearing Sciences Research Centre).

Hearing care provision in care homes for older people – it’s time to shift the paradigm’ - Amy White

The World Health Organisation’s World Report on Hearing states that age-related hearing loss should be recognised by governments as a public health priority owing to its impact on brain health, communication and well-being. Prevalence of deafness in care homes for older people is high, yet despite almost 70 years of research, it remains largely undetected and poorly supported. Recommendations to address the barriers include improving care home staff training and hearing screening. If these recommendations are sufficient to bring about change, why aren’t we seeing improvements? This session discusses the pursuit of transformative reform in care homes from a human rights and social justice perspective to safeguard the hearing care needs of older people.


Amy is the Senior Sensory Hub Officer for Deafness at the Health and Social Care ALLIANCE’s Scottish Sensory Hub – a Third sector organisation connecting the Scottish Government with the voice of lived experience for people living with sight loss, deafness or deafblindness.

She is a former NHS Senior Audiologist passionate about sensory care across the lifespan. She has also worked in mainstream education, providing communication support for deaf children.

Amy’s PhD at Queen Margaret University investigated hearing care in care homes for older people, with a focus on human rights and social justice. Her interests include transformational research, sensory nurture and brain health.

The Evidence-base for Adult Hearing Aid Fitting Practices and Implications for Future Provision - Ibrahim Almufarrij

Prescribing and fitting hearing aids are essential components of most adult audiology clinics. They are typically prescribed based on individuals’ audiograms and validated through real-ear measurements.

Despite the common use of REMs, uncertainties persist regarding their benefits for patients. Furthermore, recent years have seen the emergence of various remote self-administered hearing assessment tools and various hearing aid service delivery models (e.g., self-fitting hearing aids). These developments underscore the pressing need for evidence to guide optimal clinical practice.

In this talk, we will explore several topics:

  • The functionality and performance characteristics of commercially available remote hearing assessment tools
  • The continued necessity of audiogram-based prescriptions for adults
  • The benefits of using REM for new adult users

Dr. Ibrahim Almufarrij is a clinician and audiology researcher, holding a PhD from the University of Manchester. His significant contributions to the field span both clinical practice and research. With many published scientific papers and peer-review engagements, he has advanced audiology’s understanding and emerged as a valued academic contributor. In addition to his research endeavours, Ibrahim has garnered extensive experience in providing specialized care to individuals with hearing impairments at private and public hearing aid clinics in Saudi Arabia.

Furthermore, he has demonstrated his dedication to the field by serving as a board member of the Saudi Society of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology for consecutive cycles. He also teaches audiology courses at both King Saud University and the University of Manchester.

Ibrahim’s dedication has earned him prestigious accolades, including the Best Student Poster Presentation award at the British Academy of Audiology conference for two consecutive years in 2021 and 2022, as well as the University of Manchester’s Outstanding Achievement Award in 2018.

Grant Quest: Reflections on writing a research grant applications - Helen Martin

In summer 2022 I was successful in obtaining from Research Capability Funding to enable me to spend one day a week for a year to develop a research grant application, to look into Primary Care Audiology services. Having just submitted my application I am keen to share my experience to explain the work involved and the support available, to encourage others to apply for grants.

I will cover the following areas:

1. Which grant to apply for and the application process. I will explain about the different sources of grants and the different application processes, to include the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) grant I applied for and the online ARAMIS system.

2. Identifying the research question by assessing what is already known. I will reflect on the systematic approach I took in reviewing the literature, and the challenges I faced, but how this underpinned my application

3. Working with the NIHR Research Support Service. I received excellent support with regular meetings, introductions to experts, and review of my proposals, and feel my application was hugely improved by this support. I will explain more about the report received and how it helped.

4. Public and patient involvement (PPI) work. I carried out a number of PPI activities, to include online and face to face consultations with groups and learnt how enjoyable and valuable this is. I will explain what I did and the support received.

5. Costings: I will use my project to illustrate the different costs to consider and how I went about costing them, and navigating the Schedule of Events Cost Attribution Tool.

6. Pulling it all together: Dedication, determination and resilience was needed to finalise my application, and I will share my lessons learnt for what I would do differently next time.

Helen is a registered Clinical Scientist, worked in Audiology for 25 years, and currently chairs the HTS Committee. Here experience has been mainly in the NHS with a strong interest in paediatrics, tinnitus and service quality and design, but has also included working in the education, charitable and private sectors. Five years ago Helen left front line services and now works in the NECS Research and Evidence Team. This has enabled her to gain a wide range of experience in NHS service evaluation across a range of specialities, as well as developing skills in systematic reviews, qualitative research, and writing research grant applications.


Engaging Audiologists in delivering and leading research in the NHS: What do researchers need to know from Audiologists for effective collaborations - Dr Amanda Hall

Co-authors and presenters: Dr Amanda Hall, Dr Bhavisha Parmar and Dr Hannah Cooper

The National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) sets out its strategic aims and areas of key focus to address health and social care challenges in its strategy document Best Research for Health: The Next Chapter. This document sets out the policy to increase the opportunities for patients to take part in research and the need to integrate research delivery into “real world” health and social care settings, reducing the barriers to all staff contributing to research endeavours.

Audiologists are in a prime position to offer research opportunities to patients with hearing, tinnitus, and balance problems, as well as to deliver and potentially lead research themselves. The NIHR commissioned a report in 2021 to develop recommendations to increase research delivery capacity and grow research capability within NHS Audiology. We held four focus groups with Audiologists to understand the challenges for clinicians to being involved in research in clinical practice. The main difficulties described for audiologists and Audiology departments to integrate research delivery into clinical practice was related to significant workforce shortages within Audiology as well as the lack of a research culture or job plan where audit, evaluation and research are not seen as part of the job role.

Groups within the BAA, BSA and the NIHR are working collaboratively to develop support and resources to enable effective partnerships between clinicians and researchers. This presentation will provide an update on the work of these groups, focusing on what researchers need to know from clinicians to develop fruitful collaborations and ensure successful delivery of research within clinical settings. This will include discussion of the clinical context, patient pathways, study methodology, implementation of research findings into practice, and the importance of developing equal partnerships


Dr Amanda Hall
Amanda is a lecturer in Audiology at Aston since 2016. She also works in the NHS as a Clinical Scientist (Audiology) specialising in paediatric Audiology.

Dr Bhavisha Parmar
I am a postdoctoral research audiologist at the University of Cambridge working on an NIHR funded BEARS (Both Ears) Clinical Trial to understand whether virtual reality interventions could improve the spatial hearing of children and young people with bilateral cochlear implants. I am also a Lecturer at UCL Ear Institute. Through the UCLH Biomedical Research Centres, I have been part of a working group developing the Department of Health and Social Care/NHS England 5-year Action Plan to improve hearing loss and tinnitus research.

Keynote Lecture: The Future of Audiology is in the Brain - Dr Angela Alexander


We want anyone who walks through our doors with a hearing problem to walk out with a hearing solution. While most audiologists are familiar with diagnosing and treating hearing loss, far fewer know what steps to take for a person with a normal audiogram and complaints of hearing problems. During this lecture, Angela will take you through a step-by-step process on identifying potential red flags for auditory processing problems in people with and without hearing loss, to give you ideas on potential solutions for clients with hearing problems beyond the audiogram.

This lecture will include free tools, case study videos, and demonstrations of auditory training to improve auditory processing abilities in clients with and without hearing loss. If the ears are the hardware, the brain is the software. We need both to work well to have a great user experience. And it’s time to level up our game.


Angela Alexander, Au.D., CCC-A, MNZAS, graduated from the University of Kansas in 2010 with a Doctor of Audiology.  Angela’s passion is in the treatment of Auditory Processing Disorder (APD).

Angela was privileged to have been mentored by Jack Katz, Ph.D., a world-leading expert on APD. Angela worked with Katz for seven years between 2004 to 2012, building her knowledge and expertise.  Listen to her podcast here.

Following this, Angela has worked as an audiologist in New Zealand.  In 2014, she opened her clinic Hear Better Audiology in Taupo, New Zealand, serving all populations.

She owns and operates Auditory Processing Institute, Angela is looking to train her peers in the skills needed to provide effective APD diagnostic and therapeutic options.   She aims to double the number of SLP/Au.D. professionals providing effective auditory processing services through the online APD Master Courses by 2022.

​With APD Support she empowers clients to improve their auditory processing abilities through systematic auditory training through a series of modules.

Sensory hypersensitivity to sounds and visual environments across clinical conditions - Petroc Sumner


Hyperacusis and PPPD are conditions that audiologist might meet entirely separately in hearing and vestibular clinics, respectively. However, they both feature hyper-sensitivity to certain kinds of stimuli, and it turns out that such sensitivities are correlated across all senses, and also with many other conditions such as anxiety and migraine. In this talk I will present the wider context of sensory hypersensitivity and current understanding of the different kinds of triggers and why it occurs.

Petroc Sumner is a Professor in the School of Psychology, Cardiff University, and co-director of the Cardiff University Dizzy Lab. He has over 20 years of experience in researching human sensory systems and action control systems, with 100 peer reviewed papers. He took a degree in Natural Sciences at Cambridge University and a PhD in vision sciences also at Cambridge. His first lectureship was at Imperial College, after which he moved to Cardiff in 2006, where he was Head of School from 2015 to 2023.

Ten years of vHIT – what have we learnt and how are we using it? - David Jay

It has now been ten years since the first vHIT systems became commercially available, and their use in clinical practice within audiology, ENT and neurology has increased steadily around the world since then. There has also been an explosion in vestibular research using the vHIT due to its speed, ease of use and assessment of hitherto hidden parts of the vestibular system. Although vHIT is not the ‘replacement’ for the caloric test that some may have hoped, it has shown itself to be adjunctly useful in many different contexts, and has revealed information about patterns of vestibular pathology that were not previously well understood. This talk will discuss current use of the vHIT in UK audiology, what the research has discovered, the difficulties caused by artefacts in the vertical canals, and practical tips on collecting and interpreting vHIT data.


Following a ten year career as a sound engineer in the music industry, David Jay retrained as a Clinical Scientist in audiology between 2014 and 2017 at Manchester Royal Infirmary. During this training, he did a secondment with the Johns Hopkins Neuro-visual and Vestibular team in Baltimore, MD – many of whom were responsible for developing the HINTS protocol. Since then, he has remained in Manchester, focusing largely on vestibular diagnostics and rehabilitation, and more recently on cochlear implant assessment and programming. He has a particular interest in vestibular dysfunction in cochlear implant patients. He teaches vestibular clinical technique regularly to trainees in audiology, ENT, neurology, emergency medicine, stroke and geriatrics, and has published several articles on vHIT clinical technique in professional magazines.

Paving an easier road to Cochlear Implantation - Rhian McTaggart & Petrina Checkland

Rhian McTaggart and Petrina Checkland will be running a Cochlear Implant workshop session at this year’s conference.

Any of us can make a CI referral, yet it is well documented that people eligible for CI consideration are not always offered the option of a CI referral. This 45 minute talk on ‘paving an easier road to Cochlear Implantation’ explores the barriers to CI conversations and referrals, and is packed with practical suggestions on how to overcome each of them. Equality of access to healthcare is the goal.

Rhian McTaggart biography
Rhian Bardsley, BSc(Hons), MSc, MSc, CS, is the adult cochlear implant programme coordinator at Manchester NHS Foundation Trust and has worked in audiology for 9 years, with a focus on implants for the last 6 years. Rhian began her implant career at Guy’s and St Thomas’ hearing implant centre before taking the coordinator role in Manchester in September 2022. During her time working with hearing implant devices Rhian has been a CI champions mentor and part of the champions committee through BAA/ BCIG and has really enjoyed working with this group to try and influence referral quality, rates and connections with the wider audiology community. Rhian currently works within the adult cochlear implant team and would like all adults who could benefit from an implant to have the opportunity for assessment and treatment if deemed appropriate for them.

Bone Conduction and Middle Ear Devices - Marsha Jenkins and Abi Asher

The BSA Bone Conduction & Middle Ear Devices Special Interest Group are very pleased to be invited to give our inaugural presentation at the BAA conference. We are excited to tell you about who we are and our goals.  We will also be presenting interactive case studies that should spark good discussions. We will finish with an update on current devices available and the technological differences.

Marsha Jenkins Biography
Marsha is joint Lead Clinical Scientist at the Paediatric Hearing Implant Centre at St Thomas’ Hospital, London.  The centre offers all hearing implants ABI, CI, BCI & MEI. She has over 20 years’ experience of working in the field, joining the team in 2001.

Marsha graduated with a B.Sc. (Hons) in Biochemistry from Glasgow University, then undertook an M.Sc. in Audiological Science at University College London, qualifying in 1998. She is currently embarking on a PhD at UCL Ear Institute, exploring optimising outcomes for children with unilateral hearing loss.

In spring of 2022 the BSA Bone Conduction & Middle Ear Devices (BCMED) Special Interest Group was formed. Marsha is Chair of this group and they are working towards producing documentation to standardise referral, assessment and management of possible candidates who may benefit from these implantable and non-implantable devices.

Marsha and the team at St Thomas’ are particularly experienced in dealing with children who have significant hearing loss, as well as complex audiological, physiological, cognitive or behavioural issues, and strive to promote language for this patient population and improve their quality of life.

Abi Asher Biography

Development and Implementation of an Audiology-First Diagnostic Vestibular Service - Thomas Underdown

Over the last year a new direct access pathway for dizzy patients referred to ENT has been implemented at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust. This service improvement meets multiple actions proposed in the Audiology improvement document developed by the national Physiological Science Transformation Programme. This novel pathway involves patients being seen in Audiology for diagnostic vestibular testing prior to review by a balance multi-disciplinary team, led by ENT. By adopting an “Audiology first” diagnostic model to support patient management, significant service improvements have been achieved alongside a reduction in patient waiting time. Compared to the standard model of care (ENT review with subsequent referral for vestibular testing) these include: a reduction in total patient pathway length of more than 50%; a reduction in demand for outpatient ENT appointments for dizziness/imbalance of 50%; and correspondingly increased rapidity of access to vestibular rehabilitation, investigations, and onward referrals.

A discussion of “lessons learned” through implementation of Quality Improvement (QI) Methodologies, drawing on NHS Improvement case studies, and utilisation of national guidance for development and setting-up of balance services from NHS England and the BAA will be presented. These include the challenges of stakeholder engagement and the reliance on inter-disciplinary working; simplification of complex patient pathways; development and implementation of local protocols; the importance of the audiology national Physiological Science transformation in underpinning the need for change locally; and the potential of future developments.

Tom is the Adult Diagnostic Lead at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust. Working as a Clinical Scientist he has an interest in service development, vestibular assessment, as well as assessment and audiological rehabilitation of individuals with learning disabilities. Further to this, he has previously published regarding patient decision making and has an active interest in complex audiological rehabilitation, as part of the NF2 service in Oxford.

Creating an Accessible Virtual Reality Program for Undertaking Vestibular Rehabilitation - Mahdiyya Dharas

Visual Vertigo is a common presenting symptom for patients with vestibular disorders seen in clinics. Using virtual reality as a rehabilitation tool to enhance vestibular rehabilitation is becoming commonplace in the field although current technology is not readily accessible for home use. In this project, the authors create a vestibular rehabilitation tool, using virtual reality that aims to (1) improve the patient’s symptoms and quality of life (2) encompasses the principles of vestibular rehabilitation therapy; (3) is easily accessible and safe to use.

A program was designed using a 3 degrees of freedom system to create a virtual environment whereby the patient (user) is exposed to scenarios which would trigger their dizziness. The program plans to include up to six different scenarios with 4 levels of complexity in each scenario. This allows the user to have control over their rehabilitation process and includes gamification to ensure the exercises are completed as well as increase compliance. The levels are time restricted to reduce risks of overstimulation and cybersickness. Within the levels, the practitioner can prescribe vestibular rehabilitation that are customised for each client’s symptoms and mindfulness can be incorporated. The system is designed to be used with a mobile device.

The project is still under development with further scenarios to be developed after which the Program will be implemented into clinical settings.

Mahdiyya Dharas is director and owner of Dizzy Ears Ltd, a private Audiology clinic based in Bedfordshire. Mahdiyya is an Audiologist with 15 years of working on the NHS and privately. Mahdiyya specialises in Vestibular diagnostics and vestibular rehabilitation. She is always on the lookout for innovative ways to treat dizziness.

Dr Rogerio E. Da Silva is a lecturer of Creative Computing at the University of Leicester. Rogerio teaches Games and Gamification, Digital Arts Lab, and Entertainment Technology for the Creative Computing program. In terms of research, Rogerio is interested in studying virtual and augmented reality, synthetic characters and affective computing.

Friday lectures

See below:

Genomic testing for an individual and family history of deafness - Rachel Belk

Clinicians specialising in audiology have played a key role for decades in investigating the aetiology of deafness in the children and families they see. Until recently, genetic testing has been only a small part of the available agreed investigations, with Connexin 26/Connexin 30 screening the one routine test and the testing of a limited number of other genes possible if additional signs suggested a syndromic genetic cause. The development of next generation sequencing techniques, with many genes being tested in parallel as part of a ‘panel test’, has allowed expansion of the available testing for deafness to over a hundred genes. Previously, the service availability of a panel test for deafness was limited, expensive for individual clinicians to fund and there was a long wait for results. The introduction of the National Genomic Test Directory in England has standardised the criteria for the deafness panel test, which went live in April 2021, clarified which clinicians can request the test (including audiologists) and is funded centrally by NHS England. Clinical genetics services across England and the devolved nations have liaised closely so that testing availability is similar across the UK.

It is impossible for genomic medicine services to see all children and families eligible for testing and therefore we are working with clinicians in many disciplines, from cardiology to ophthalmology to renal medicine, as they become familiar with requesting and interpreting genomic testing. This presentation aims to give an overview of the technology, availability, interpretation of results and, most importantly, implications for families. It will discuss the information that can help families make an informed decision, the practicalities of arranging testing and the consent and confidentiality implications of genomic testing.

The presentation aims to support audiologists and other clinicians whose work involves the aetiological investigation of deafness and hearing loss, but may be of interest to all those wanting to understand recent developments in genomic testing. It compliments other presentations given by this team, which includes the consultants leading on deafness within the two clinical services in England where testing is carried out.

Rachel Belk is a Registered Genetic Counsellor who has worked across general and cancer genetic counselling since 1996, but has also specialised in deafness since 2003. This work has given her practical experience and knowledge of communicating genetic information cross-culturally and cross-linguistically. Her further postgraduate research explored how British Sign Language users discuss the complex topic of genetics and inheritance in a visual spatial language. She has worked within the Yorkshire Regional Genetics Service (part of the North-East and Yorkshire region) and the Manchester Centre for Genomic Medicine service for most of this time. As genomic testing techniques develop, and following the introduction of the National Genomic Test Directory in England, Rachel is enjoying ongoing and increased multidisciplinary working with clinicians and professionals who see children and families with deafness. She works closely with genetic counselling colleagues from Manchester and North East Thames (Great Ormond Street) and, in turn, they are supported by the North-West Genomic Medicine Service Alliance (NW GMSA) and North Thames Genomic Medicine Service Alliance (NT GMSA). She is very much looking forward to speaking at the BAA Conference 2023 and sharing the practice that genetic services are continuing to develop within and across regions and through the mainstreaming of genomic testing in other clinical disciplines.

An association between auditory responsiveness and duration of entertainment screen time (EST) in children in the first two years of life - Dr Josephine Marriage

There is an increase in the proportion of children, age 1-3 years, who do not respond to simple signals used in standard behavioural hearing tests. Further testing demonstrates good peripheral cochlear hearing function in these children. During the COVID pandemic young children experienced greater social isolation and may have had increased entertainment screen time (EST). We report factors associated with changes in auditory response behaviours and communication skills.

METHOD 118 children (1-3 years) attending a hearing assessment centre had behavioural hearing assessments using standard simple sounds (children assigned to Group 2) and for children who needed familiar tunes to be used (Group 1).

OUTCOME MEASURES Parents completed a questionnaire covering: the child’s preferred tune; number of times the child met with other children; number of words the child spoke at one and two years; and daily amount of EST the child had over the first and second years of life. An assessment of each child’s social, attention and communication skills (MoSAIC) was completed by the audiologist.

Results: Significant differences are seen in the number of words used by children, with fewer words in Group 1 than Group 2, at 12 months (P= 0.0013) and 24 months (P= 0.0006). Group 1 had more hours per day of screen time up to 12 months (P< 0.0002) and 24 months (P < 0.0003) than control Group 2 children. Significant differences were found in the social, attention and communication (MOSAIC) profile (P< 0.0001) with lower scores in Group 1.

Conclusions: An increasing proportion of young children do not respond to simple sounds in audiology testing. This study shows an association with increase in entertainment screen time (EST) and reduced speech in children who only respond to music and theme tunes, compared to children who show hearing responses to simple signals.

The impact of hearing loss on the early educational outcomes of children using hearing devices and enrolled in the Born in Bradford Cohort study - Catherine Killan


The relationship between hearing loss (HL) and Early Years Foundation Stage Profile (EYFSP) outcomes (17 learning goals including literacy, numbers, and personal and social development) has not been explored but could inform children’s care. This study aimed to link Born in Bradford (BiB) and CUSP cohort datasets to measure the impact of HL on EYFSP scores.

This retrospective observational study identified children who used hearing devices in 2019 to 2020, and were also enrolled in BiB. Audiological data recorded close to EYFSP assessment date were extracted. The HL study group were compared to controls matched for characteristics associated with early educational outcomes. EYFSP data were analysed by total score out of 51 and ‘Good Level of Development’ (GLD) pass rate. Whole group total scores were compared via dependent t-tests and HL sub-groups by Mann-Whitney U tests. GLD whole and sub-group data were compared via Pearson’s Chi-Square tests.

128 (64 study and 64 control) children were identified, representing a diverse and socioeconomically disadvantaged population. Sub-groups included 15 children with unilateral HL, 23 with mild HL, and 20 with moderate HL (6 children with severe-to-profound HL were excluded from sub-group analyses). Children underwent EYFSP assessment during 2013 to 2016, when 48% of the study group were unaided. Study group mean total score (24.7) was significantly poorer than the control group (33.1) (p<.001) as were the mild and moderate sub-group median scores (p<.01). GLD pass rate was significantly lower for children with HL (whole group and all sub-group analyses).

The impact of HL was equivalent to a child dropping from the ‘expected’ to ‘emerging’ classification for 13 out of 17 learning goals. This suggests health and education provision were insufficient for children with HL to develop in line with their peers, highlighting a need for evidence-based guidance to support their management.


Dr Catherine Killan is a state-registered (HCPC) clinical scientist (Audiology) with experience of both adult and paediatric cochlear implant audiology. From 2000 until 2021 (barring a career break) she practised at Bradford Teaching Hospitals Foundation NHS Trust. She was recently awarded a PhD from the University of Nottingham. Her research compared outcomes for children with and without access to cochlear implantation and investigated the impact of hearing loss on the early educational outcomes of children from Bradford. Her current role is Research Fellow at the University of Nottingham, helping deliver a multi-centre randomised clinical trial. The COACH trial compares the effectiveness of cochlear implantation to acoustic hearing aids in adults who fall just outside current NICE guidance for cochlear implantation and is a collaboration between the NIHR Nottingham Hearing Biomedical Research Centre and the Nottingham Clinical Trials Unit.

Keynote Lecture - Improving Service Quality - Dr Nathan Proudlove

Service and quality improvement (QI) should be part of everyone’s daily work. The HSST programme is one vehicle for embedding this knowledge and experience in senior healthcare scientists. The core thinking and tools fit well with scientific mindsets.

However, leaders’ roles in QI extends beyond the knowledge and experience to do QI, to fostering a QI culture. Approaches to this including facilitation and coaching, building on other elements of the HSST programme. At departmental level, a further useful approach is to build and operate a QI-focused quality management system..

This talk introduces some of the main QI methodologies and tools covered on HSST, with examples of the sort of QI project work undertaken by HSST trainees in both the Physiological Sciences specialisms and others (Physical Sciences, Life Sciences and Bioinformatics).

Dr Nathan Proudlove is an Associate Professor in operational research and management science at Alliance Manchester Business School.

He has worked on health management issues since the mid-1990s. Nathan’s particular interests are operational management and flow issues such as capacity and demand, forecasting, bed management, and process/quality/service improvement. He has worked with many hospital trusts, regional and national NHS and Department of Health bodies, consultancies and health policy think tanks. He has been co-investigator on a series of Department of Health and NIHR and other research projects. Current large research projects are with the Christie Hospital (Manchester) and Barts (London).

He is Director of the leadership and management component (PgDip) of the national Higher Specialist Scientist Training (HSST) programme (DClinSci) for NHS Health Education England’s National School for Healthcare Science. This currently enrols about 100 (mainly hospital) clinical and healthcare scientists per year and is the main route to qualification to become a Consultant Clinical Scientist. Trainees are drawn from all four NHS systems in the UK. He leads the Quality Improvement module and particularly enjoys working with trainees to develop their improvement work for publication.

He also teaches stochastic modelling and simulation on Alliance Manchester Business School’s MSc in Business Analytics, and supervises dissertation and thesis research. In addition he contributes to process analysis and quality improvement teaching on programmes for medics and hospital managers run by and through the University of Oxford.

Our paediatric audiology quality assurance journey: from tears to triumph - Premdeep Bhabra

Quality assurance is a term that all professionals working in a healthcare environment will readily recognise.  However, the introduction of a robust quality assurance system is often considered daunting and unachievable and thus regularly deprioritised due to the daily pressures of a growing clinical workload.  However, now more than ever, quality assurance is essential in all healthcare environments, including hearing services.  It is no longer an option to think or believe we are doing the right thing, as healthcare professionals we need to measure it, and we need to prove it.

This talk will focus on our challenging yet rewarding journey from hopeful believers, to evidence based achievers.  We will cover: where we started; how we initially worked towards achieving IQIPS accreditation and our journey to IQIPS 2; how we embedded quality assurance practices across the service; and how we have continued to nurture and develop this culture so that we do not ‘do audits for IQIPS’, but rather show IQIPS the great work that we have already done.  We will also share examples of the audits and service evaluations that we have found most useful.

All departments will already have some quality assurance measures in place, and by sharing our experience we hope to encourage you to take up the quality assurance mantle and build upon what you have to propagate the positive quality assurance culture across our profession.

Prem is a Principal Audiologist at Evelina London Children’s Hospital with over 10 years’ experience within Paediatric audiology.  Prem is the quality lead for the service and leads on quality assurance within the service including maintenance of the services UKAS accreditation.  Within her role as quality lead Prem has worked to develop a culture of continual improvement in the service.


Demystifying Audit - how, what, when and why? - Professor Chris Degg

The talk will cover the topic of audit with reference to audiology healthcare departments. It will provide an overview regarding the nature of audit, its application/benefits, some practical considerations regarding the design and implementation of the audit cycle (how to set up, undertake and close out an audit) and how to use audit as a means to maintain/improve service quality.

I am an NHS Consultant Clinical Scientist and have been working in Medical Physics and Clinical Engineering for the past 30 years, initially as Head of Evoked Potentials in Leicester and currently Head of the Evoked Potentials Service at Nottingham University Hospitals.

I am NHSP Clinical Lead and CHSWG group chair for Nottingham and I chair the MPCE departmental ISO 9001:2015 quality management system group.

Outside of the NHS, I am Honorary Professor of Balance Science at the De Montfort University.

Interim paediatric audiology review for the Midlands - responding rapidly at a regional level to a national issue - Claire Benton

In 2022 the Newborn Hearing Screening Programme (NHSP) completed analysis of data that demonstrated geographical variation in the diagnostic yield for permanent childhood hearing impairment in babies referred by the programme in England. Services/regions who deviated significantly from the national average were contacted for deep dive analysis. The Midlands had no nationally identified services based on the data.

The Midlands took a pro-active approach to developing a region wide audiology quality review cell including subject matter experts (SME) from Midlands audiology services. This task and finish group was created to assess paediatric audiology ABR data for all staff involved in the service, as well as gathering good governance evidence from each service.

NHS England – Midlands agreed to commission the desk top peer review. A notification letter was sent to the relevant provider organisation(s) notifying of the review and copied to individual Trust’s executive team and the ICB Medical Directors and Diagnostic Leads.

Within the Midlands region there are 25 Audiology services. 10 in the East Midlands and 15 in the West Midlands. 20 of these provide an ABR service. SMEs reviewed the ABR and governance information which included information on calibration, protocols, room set up’s and audit plans. The aim was to RAG rate paediatric audiology services across the Midlands to help systems identify services that require expert support or more robust interventions. As well as share any learning and best practice identified as part of the review across the region.

The results of the review will be discussed with an evaluation of how the review ran, including it’s governance arrangements and any follow on actions that were agreed. The aim is to present the review as a model that could be used nationwide.


Consultant Clinical Scientist (Audiology), Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust.

Claire has worked within Audiology for over 25 years. Most of this time has been within the Audiology department at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust. She has always worked clinically in paediatrics, previously being the Clinical Lead for Paediatrics for 11 years, and more recently Head of Service for the department since 2018. Having been part of the British Society of Audiology’s working group, which developed the joint BSA/BTA Guidelines for assessing and managing tinnitus in Children, Claire has specialised in working with children with tinnitus and hyperacusis for the past 10 years.

Claire is a Board Director for BAA, leading our World Congress of Audiology 2028 project. She also presents BAA on one of the NHS England Working Groups reviewing the current issues in Paediatric Audiology.

The 2023 Adrian Davis Lecture will be presented by Dr Barbra Timmer - Hearing rehabilitation outcomes: Our role in addressing well-being, stigma and adapting audiology services

This keynote address will present recent findings on aspects of adult rehabilitative audiology, such as hearing loss and stigma, and the use of teleaudiology in hearing aid fitting. The presentation will also highlight clinical recommendations to improve social-emotional well-being for adults with hearing loss.

Barbra Timmer, PhD, MBA is a Lecturer in Audiology (Teaching & Research) at the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, The University of Queensland and Senior Scientist at Sonova AG. Her research interests include the real-world challenges and audiological outcomes for adults with hearing impairment, the implementation of family-centred care in audiological practice, social-emotional well-being for adults with hearing loss, and utilising mHealth approaches to improve audiology outcomes.

Prior to starting her academic career, Barbra worked in clinical audiology in Australia and The Netherlands and gained hearing care industry experience in Switzerland. She aims to build a stronger bridge between research and clinical practice and as President of Audiology Australia, Barbra regularly contributes advice to shape the profession as well as government and health policy.



Working as hearing care professionals with deafness/hearing loss - Matthew Frost

Hearing care professionals (HCPs) with hearing loss/deafness have the rare experience of being both healthcare professionals and audiology service users. Whilst the “wounded healer” has been discussed more broadly in the literature (Concha and Reppar, 2014), this has not yet been explored for hearing loss/deafness. This study aimed to understand the impact of the experience of hearing loss on the professional role and identify the barriers or facilitators to working as a HCP for a person with hearing loss/deafness, using 90-minute long focus groups.

Participants reported that their experiences of hearing loss/deafness were central to their identity as HCPs, but experienced varying levels of support during training and practice. In some cases, participants felt that certain career routes were not open to them because of their hearing loss/deafness. Crucially, participants valued having space to share their experiences with other HCPs with hearing loss/deafness.

Their recommendations for employers and professional bodies will be shared in this presentation by focus group participant Matt Frost, with the aim of improving access to support for other HCPs with hearing loss.

Conchar, C. and Repper, J. (2014) ‘“Walking wounded or wounded healer?” Does personal experience of mental health problems help or hinder mental health practice? A review of the literature’, Mental health and social inclusion., 18(1), pp. 35–44. Available at:

Matt’s own bilateral hearing loss since his teenage years has shaped both his studies and audiological vocation. He initially trained as an Orchestral Percussionist at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London before his personal interest in audiology became a professional passion. Having retrained, Matt currently works as a hearing aid dispenser for Harley Street Hearing & Musicians’ Hearing Services in London. In addition, he sits on the BAA’s Equality and Diversity Committee and is engaged in ongoing research on the audiological treatment and support of musicians, recently presenting his findings at Aural Diversity’s 2023 conference. As well as supporting Dr. Alinka Greasley’s (University of Leeds) research into ​music listening and hearing aids, Matt has also thoroughly enjoyed partaking in Dr. Saima Rajasingam’s (Anglia Ruskin University) ​work on the experiences of hearing care professionals with deafness/hearing loss.


Hospital Based Audiology – taking control - Jonathan Parsons

With increasing evidence that with hearing aid amplification we can affect the course of dementia, NHS Audiology services will at some point come under massive pressure to deliver significantly more pathways. We must have in place a strategy that allows us to be in control, adapt, meet capacity and workforce needs and keep the great advantages of a hospital-based system that has hearing aid provision at the heart of our offer. Chime is a model that has learned many lessons over the 12 years of our existence, and I offer that as a building block for the future in terms of the principles of how it is funded, operates, and has a greater control of whole service outcome.

Jonathan is Consultant Clinical Scientist and is Managing Director of Chime Social Enterprise. Jonathan oversaw and now leads the spin out of the NHS Audiology Service in Exeter which under Right to Request became a Social Enterprise in May 2011. He is passionate about the benefits this model has for the NHS, retaining NHS pay, pension and conditions but creating a staff owned enterprise that operates as a not for profit business. Jonathan trained originally and then worked in Nottingham as well as Leicester and Leeds before arriving in Devon. He has worked in an advisory capacity with DH and was the first President of BAA and served two terms on the BAA Board.


Audiology and ENT within general practice in the community: An innovative and novel approach to comprehensive and patient-centric service delivery in West Kent - Dr Priya Carling

The Kent Community ENT NHS service was established approximately 20 years ago by Dr Unwin, a GP working closely with a local ENT Consultant in a community outpatient hospital. Since then, the team has grown further into the community and comprises of GP’s with extended roles, ENT Consultants, Audiologists, Nurses, HCAs, a Vestibular Physiotherapist and administrators. The MDT approach allows the triaged patient to see the most appropriate person and should there be a subsequent identified complexity, a rapid involvement of other members of the team can be done quickly. The desire to evolve bureaucratic siloed structures and use the best of what each specialist has to offer, allows for a more adaptable service. During the Covid pandemic, the service was able to quickly resume, providing essential healthcare in ENT, and has always played a valued role in taking pressure off the local hospitals.

The training ethos of each specialism differs and working closely together allows the cultural barriers from traditional medical dogma to be challenged. In practice, it allows a different perspective in assessment allowing a focus not just on the organic pathology but the biopsychosocial aspects of the patient. Recognising that patient health and well-being is more than the absence of disease and empowering patients to embrace individual ownership of the choices they make, will inevitably ensure sustainable long term management plans.

This talk will describe the development of the service, the team ethos and structure, as well as describe various conditions that are managed, with emphasis on ear pathologies, hearing loss, aural and vestibular assessment and rehabilitation. A description of how team members are included based not just on qualifications and education, but values, motivation, critical thinking and open-mindedness. There will be mention of the demographics and an overview of our in-house and external education and training.

Dr Priya Carling Biography

Priya trained as a speech-language therapist and audiologist in South Africa and completed her AuD through Nova Southeastern University. Over the past 28 years Priya has worked in the UK private health sector, NHS and academic sector. Her roles have included Head of Audiology, Neurophysiology and Speech Therapy at the BUPA Cromwell Hospital, Head of Audiology for East Kent NHS Trust and  Director of Education, Principal Investigator and Senior Lecturer at UCL’s Ear Institute. In 2017 she set up Kent Hearing, a comprehensive audiology clinic. She is also a clinician for the West Kent ENT Community Service. She has worked as a consultant in Audiology as a speaker, lecturer and  researcher and recently helped develop the Basic Ear and Hearing Care resource for the World Health Organisation (WHO). She is a sections editor for the ENT and Audiology News publication.

Dr Sudeb Mandal Biography
Sudeb graduated from Sheffield Medical School in 2003 and became a GP in 2009 and a GP with an extended role in ENT in 2012.  He is currently a GP Partner at the Borough Green Medical Practice, Co-Service Lead for Kent Community ENT and Service Lead for Kent Vasectomy.  He is affectionally known to be the resident expert in Ear, Nose and Testicles.
Kent Community ENT is a service comprising of doctors, audiologists, nurses, a vestibular physiotherapist and psychotherapist.  It accepts NHS referrals for general ENT presentations from Primary care.  Service exclusions include ENT Emergencies, suspected cancer, under 2 year olds, neck lumps including thyroid issues, and complex surgical patients previously under hospital care.

We fit hearing aids, perform aural care, nasendoscopy, nasal cautery, balance and tinnitus therapy.  We run sessions for ear care and do educational talks for local doctors and nurses, as well as one-on-one training in clinic settings.  We have also provided a clinical platform to run trials for various new tech via the local university.

Application of CBT for Tinnitus - Dr Eldre Beukes

Chronic bothersome tinnitus can negatively affect many aspects of an individual’s life. Various management approaches exist, although these are not all evidence based. The approach which has shown the most efficacy in reducing tinnitus distress is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). However, CBT is seldom offered to those with tinnitus as there are few professionals with an understanding of both tinnitus and CBT. Ways of increasing accessibility to CBT for tinnitus have thus been sought.  This talk will describe the principles and components of CBT for tinnitus, various applications, and delivery options based on research evidence.


Dr Eldré Beukes is a senior lecturer and researcher at Anglia Ruskin University, in Cambridge. She is a clinical scientist in Audiology. She was awarded the Richard May prize following her training, and continues to see patients as director of Audiological Specialist Care. Her research focus has been in developing, managing, and evaluating evidence-based internet-based interventions for tinnitus. She received the prestigious Shapiro prize, three years in concession between 2017-2019, and the Hallpike Research Prize in 2019 for her work on the development and running of clinical trials to assess the effectiveness of Internet-based interventions. She is the author of the books “Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Tinnitus” and “Evaluating and Conducting Research in Audiology” and has published more than 80 peer-reviewed articles.  She is a trustee for Deafblind UK, Senior Fellow of the British Society of Audiology, and Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Engagement and Dissatisfaction in Tinnitus Patients - Dr James Jackson

This presentation will consider the needs of the tinnitus patient in the post-COVID environment. In addition, it will look at current satisfaction levels with the primary care pathway (i.e. GP to audiologist, specifically for tinnitus) and considers typical help-seeking behaviour in tinnitus patients.


Dr James Jackson is a Chartered Psychologist, an Associate Fellow of the British Psychology Society, and a Reader in Psychology at Leeds Trinity University. His PhD. (University of Hull) considered the effects of tinnitus on concentration and task performance. Advance HE (SFHEA). James is a member of the Professional Advisors Committee (PAC) for Tinnitus UK, and his research interests include how people cope with their tinnitus, online interventions for tinnitus (including smartphone apps such as ‘Tinnibot’), and interaction between tinnitus, individual differences (e.g. personality) and physiology (i.e. stress hormones).

The experience of Tinnitus UK and their development of Axel, a chatbot for tinnitus support - Nic Wray

Tinnitus UK received a major digital grant in 2021. We used this to create a new website, an enhanced webchat service and a tinnitus chatbot. A chatbot is a computer program or app designed to simulate conversation with human users. The Tinnitus UK chatbot (Axel) uses a text-based interface to communicate. Axel is available 24/7 and guides users to relevant Tinnitus UK resources each time they visit.
Axel is integrated with the web chat functionality of the Tinnitus UK website. With a developer, we asked the Tinnitus UK team and user group the key areas and questions covered during web chats. Additionally, we analysed search terms and website user journeys.
This information was used by the core development team to agree the priorities and content of the chatbot, the profiles and needs of potential users and how best to meet these needs.
A flowchart and pathways of each key profile was devised. A prototype system was then created, which was tested by the staff and user group.
The feedback informed the final version which was then connected to the website in its development phase.
The launch was successful with no identified technical problems. With minimal promotion, usage is higher than anticipated, and has reduced the numbers of human-led web chats, enabling more queries to be dealt with.
Axel is also able to learn, which will make it more effective over time. Satisfaction among users is also very high.
Axel marks a significant step forward for Tinnitus UK in our aim to reach more people with tinnitus.
It is a popular and effective service and is the only tinnitus chatbot that is free and available to everyone.

Nic is Communications Manager at Tinnitus UK. They are an award-winning health information author and Accredited PR Practitioner. They are passionate about using the power of good communications to help people improve their health and quality of life.

Nic is co-author (with Don McFerran) of the book chapter ‘Autonomous Tinnitus Management’ which will be published in the new edition of ‘The Textbook of Tinnitus’ as well as numerous other tinnitus resources for adults and children.

Sponsor Track

See below

Thursday 11.40am: Natus - Acting on Impulse: Advanced vHIT Analysis

Rob McLeod, Snr Clinical Trainer – Audiology & Vestibular

In this session we will be discussing some tips for using Otosuite Vestibular to better assess vHIT traces, avoid artefacts during capture and interpret good clean data. (and don’t worry, we’ll leave time to get to David Jay’s talk afterwards!).

Thursday 12:10 – 12:40 Supporting quality referrals: What’s new in CI and Acoustic Implants? - Cochlear


Discover the latest technology from Cochlear and get a view on the changing implant landscape. 

Louise Granger, Cochlear Implant Business Manager, and Laura Bell, Director Acoustics UK & Ireland. They have many years of audiological experience and will be happy to answer any questions on the day.

Thursday 14:15 – 14:45: The results of a randomised control trial: should we use slow or fast-acting compression speeds for older adults? Danalogic

Auditory processing and some elements of cognition decline with normal ageing, as does peripheral hearing. This can make normally-ageing older adults some of the most complex patients we see. The combined loss of peripheral and central processing makes it particularly difficult for older adults to decode speech in difficult situations, such as speech in noise. It also means that some older adults may be unable to cope with the distortion introduced by aggressive hearing aid processing, and that it may be better to use slow compression speeds or reduced compression ratios. This paper presents the results of a randomised control trial that compared the preferences of older adults given both fast and slow-acting compression. Based on the results, we describe when slow and fast compression speeds are best employed for older adults. We think this is important, because older adults are most of the patients we see.

Richard has recently started as Audiology Team Leader at Kingston Hospital, London, leading the balance service. He is also just completing the Higher Scientific Specialist Training scheme, or HSST, so please be nice to him! He has been researching the links between changes in cognition due to normal ageing, hearing and hearing aids for the last five years, and actually promises to show us some results this time. Richard is also the Chair of the Professional Guidance Group for the BSA, with overall responsibility for the quality of BSA guidelines. In summary, he has a lot to answer for!

Thursday 14:45 – 15:15 Interacoustics Research Unit (IRU) – 10 years of research in technical audiology and hearing care

Søren Laugesen, Ph.D., Research Manager at the Interacoustics Research Unit (IRU)

Get a sneak peek behind the scenes of IRU and learn about some of our research outcomes: the CE-Chirp and Aided Corticals

Abstract: The Interacoustics Research Unit was formed ten years ago, with a mission to translate basic research in technical audiology and hearing science into solving real-world challenges faced by audiologists, ENTs, and hearing healthcare professionals. This is done in a combination of internal research projects and collaborative projects with external partners. Two examples – both in the domain of evoked responses – will be discussed. The first considers the CE-Chirp, the level-specific and the narrow-band (NB) versions of it, as well as ongoing research into band-interaction effects when stimulating with all four NB CE-Chirps at both ears of the patient. The second example considers using evoked cortical responses as a means of validating hearing-aid fittings in infants. This project was made in collaboration with the University of Manchester and will be known to many as the ‘Ladies in the Van’ project.

Thursday 15:15 – 15:45 Spatial Listening in Children with Hearing Loss: What and Where the Speech is Matters

Dr Andrea Pittman, PhD CCC-A

Biography: Dr. Pittman is a Professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at the MGH Institute of Health Professions in Boston, MA. She is the Director of the Doctor of Audiology training program as well as the Director of the Hearing Research Lab at the Institute. Her work focuses on the effects of hearing loss in children (and adults) with an emphasis on amplification features that support listening, learning, and recall of new information across the lifespan.

Thursday 16:15 – 16:45: Group Hearing Aid Fittings – ingenuity or idiocy? Danalogic

With ongoing waiting list pressures, the Audiology department at NHS Tayside decided to create a waiting list task force to discuss the balance between creating a lean service whilst maintaining as much quality for the patient experience as possible. One of the many brought in as a pilot was to deliver hearing aid fittings for new users in a group setting. This presentation covers the logistics of this pilot, patient outcomes, feedback, impact on waiting lists and future plans. Were NHS Tayside successful or did this idea flop? Come and hear more about the experience.

Laura has worked in NHS Audiology for over 20 years and in addition has worked for the British Society of Audiology and Hearing Link giving her a broad view of Audiology. Her clinical interests include hyperacusis, severe and profound hearing loss and person-centred care. Over 2.5 years ago she moved to Scotland and took over NHS Tayside as Head of Service in 2022. Over her career Laura has been part of the BAA Service Quality Committee, an active member of the BSA special interest groups for adult rehabilitation, tinnitus & hyperacusis & Scotland’s Tinnitus Advisory Group. She loves innovating services and ensuring that these innovations are held to a quality standard and are fully audited and assessed.

Friday 09:20 – 09:50: Supporting quality referrals: an audience with a CI Champion -Cochlear

Senior Audiologist, Lushinka Gopichand, will focus on the resources and service improvements which support patients on their referral journey. Gain practical ideas and approaches for your practice and department.

Lushinka Gopichand, Senior Audiologist, East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust and CI Champion.

Lushinka is currently a senior Audiologist at Colchester Hospital. Her master’s research topic explored parent’s expectations and their experienced outcomes of paediatric cochlear implantation.  Lushinka’s passion has led her to practice extensively in both adult and paediatric audiology services in South Africa and the U.K., treating patients in hospital settings and private practice. She has also taken opportunities to develop her leadership role in mentoring undergraduates at her university. Lushinka is currently the cochlear implant champion in Colchester, and thoroughly enjoying her role in developing and enhancing her clinical skills.


Friday 9.50am: Check yourself before you RECD yourself: how RECDs can greatly impact a fitting target or make no difference at all - Natus

Rob McLeod, Snr Clinical Trainer – Audiology & Vestibular

In this session we’ll be demystifying RECD coupler fitting logic, looking at how RECDs influence DSL fitting targets and talking about how your measured RECDs could be being ignored!

Friday 11:55 – 12:25 Audible Contrast Threshold (ACT™) test: From research laboratory to clinic

Søren Laugesen, Ph.D., Research Manager at the Interacoustics Research Unit (IRU)

ACT is a new diagnostic tool to estimate a patient’s hearing-in-noise ability from a simple, quick, and non-language specific test

Abstract: This contribution presents evidence from a series of studies that has matured research versions of spectro-temporal modulation sensitivity testing into a clinically viable tool: The Audible Contrast Threshold (ACT) test. Over the last decade, ACT and earlier measures of spectro-temporal modulation sensitivity have shown high predictive power over speech-in-noise performance in several research studies with aided hearing-impaired test subjects. ACT is clinically interesting, as upfront knowledge about a prospective hearing-aid user’s realistic speech-in-noise performance can be useful for individualising the hearing aids’ help-in-noise features and can contribute to more targeted patient counselling. Among the important novelties are that ACT stimuli are shaped according to the individual audiogram to ensure audibility throughout the frequency range of interest, a unique test procedure very similar to that of the pure-tone audiogram, and particularly promising results when the speech-in-noise comparison data were obtained with hearing aids in a complex “ecologically valid” test condition including speech maskers and reverberation. With ACT, audiologists and hearing healthcare professionals can finally address the hearing-aid user’s #1 complaint: hearing in noise.

Friday 12:25 – 12:55 Management of Children with Normal Pure-Tone Audiograms and Functional Hearing Deficits: Are Low Gain Hearing Aids a Treatment Option for APD?

Dr. Dave Gordey

Job title: Director of Pediatric Audiology and Research

Biography: Dave Gordey, Ph.D., has been a paediatric audiologist for over twenty years. Dave is the director of paediatric audiology and research at Oticon Global headquarters in Denmark.  Dave is an adjunct professor at Western University and Salus University. Dave’s current research projects include paediatric hearing aids, counselling, functional communication deficits in children with normal peripheral hearing, and the social and emotional development of children with hearing loss.

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