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PhD Studentship - Exploring Contemporary Listening Tests in Virtual Environments

Anglia Ruskin University - Faculty of Arts, Humanities, Education and Social Sciences

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Cambridge
Funding for: UK Students
Funding amount: £18,622 per year tax-free stipend (2023-24 rate)
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 20th December 2023
Closes: 3rd March 2024
Reference: 546452
 

About ARU:
We are ranked in the world’s top 350 institutions in the 2022 Times Higher Education World University Rankings, and we are a global university transforming lives through innovative, inclusive and entrepreneurial education and research. Our research institutes and four faculties bridge scientific, technical and creative fields. We deliver impactful research which tackles pressing issues and makes a real difference to our communities. Our academic excellence has been recognised by the UK’s Higher Education funding bodies, with 16 of our research areas assessed as world-leading. In 2021, we were awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for our world-leading music therapy work.

About the Role:
Anglia Ruskin University is inviting applications for a fully-funded Vice-Chancellor’s PhD Scholarship for a period of 36 months within the Cambridge Institute for Music Therapy Research (CIMTR) within the Faculty of Arts, Humanities, Education and Social Sciences.

Project Description:
Headphones are widely used as the primary listening device in subjective listening tests because they create a controlled listening environment by blocking out external noise. Headphones are also used in critical and intensive care environments to facilitate effective music-based interventions, minimize disturbances, and enhance patient care. Choosing headphones with a neutral frequency response and high fidelity is crucial, ensuring that the audio being tested is accurately represented. However, certain limitations are associated with using headphones, such as the inability to replicate specific aspects of psychoacoustics, including head-related transfer functions (HRTFs). In these scenarios, loudspeakers are preferred over headphones for conducting listening tests.

The widespread availability of immersive technology has provided an opportunity to explore new avenues for conducting listening tests in a more accessible and immersive manner. To enhance the accuracy, breadth, and realism of listening tests while also increasing their accessibility and engagement for participants, the proposed research aims to develop listening tests that utilise commercially available immersive technology. Listening tests have various academic and clinical applications. In academic settings, conducting listening tests allows researchers to evaluate and analyse various aspects of human auditory perception and cognition. These tests can be used to study the effects of different variables on listening abilities, such as age, language proficiency, and hearing or learning impairments. They also help in developing and validating new models and theories related to auditory processing.

The research conducted in this project has the potential to offer several benefits beyond what has been previously described. Immersive technology offers unique benefits to academics, practitioners, and patients in critical and intensive care environments. Researchers can simulate complex procedures and interventions in a safe environment, while practitioners can improve their skills through realistic virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) simulations. Patients benefit from calming VR and AR experiences, improving their comfort and well-being. Immersive technology also facilitates remote consultations and telemedicine for timely decision-making.

The award is subject to the successful candidate meeting the studentship Terms and Conditions which can be found on our website (accessed by the 'Apply' button) alongside further information about the project: https://aru.ac.uk/research/postgraduate-research/vc-phd-scholarships and enquiries can be directed to phdscholarships@aru.ac.uk.

We are committed to safeguarding and promoting welfare of our staff and students and expect all staff to share this commitment.

We value diversity at ARU and welcome applications from all sections of the community.

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