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Fully Funded Swansea University PhD: An Investigation of Modern Technology in Hearing Aids: The Benefits of Binaural Beamforming to Spatial Hearing

Swansea University - Health Science

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Swansea
Funding for: UK Students
Funding amount: £18,622 p.a.
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 11th January 2024
Closes: 4th March 2024
Reference: RS532

Funding providers: Swansea University's Faculty of Medicine, Health and Life Science

Subject areas: Audiology, Psychoacoustics, Signal Processing, Psychology, Engineering, Computer Science

Project start date: 

  • 1 April 2024 (Enrolment open from mid–March)

Project description: 

Hearing loss is common in the UK, with one in five of the population living with some form of hearing impairment. Hearing aids (HAs) provide a partial solution to the problem, but the performance of the HA when the wearer is in a noisy environment is often lower than expected, because of a poor signal-to-noise ratio (SNR).  

One of the best strategies used for improving the SNR is a directional microphone (DM), which provides reduced sensitivity for sounds from behind and to the side of the listener. Modern developments have resulted in two HAs being able to communicate with each other and improve this directional sensitivity (referred to as binaural beamforming, BB). In laboratory settings BB reveals significant benefit in speech intelligibility in noise, but this is not reflected in the patient reported outcomes. Why is there a discrepancy between these two measures on BB performance and how may this inform device/software design? Through simulation (headphones) and more realistic means (loudspeakers), measures of spatial hearing performance of HA users, using different DM settings, will be investigated. This gives Improved intelligence on barriers to BB benefits and target improved performance of HAs users in complex listening environments. 

Eligibility

Candidates must hold an undergraduate degree at 2.1 level and a master’s degree. Alternatively, applicants with a UK first class honours degree (or Non-UK equivalent as defined by Swansea University) not holding a master’s degree, will be considered on an individual basis. You can check our comparison entry requirements. Please note that you may need to provide evidence of your English Language proficiency.

Due to funding restrictions, this scholarship is open to applicants eligible to pay tuition fees at the UK rate only, as defined by UKCISA regulations.

Funding Details

This scholarship covers the full cost of UK tuition fees and an annual stipend of £18,622.

Additional research expenses will also be available.

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