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Posts Tagged ‘hearing loss’

Thursday, November 2nd, 2017

Macquarie University and Cochlear partner for hearing research and audiology education

Macquarie University and Cochlear have recently announced the establishment of the co-funded Cochlear Chair in Hearing and Healthy Ageing at Macquarie University, a role that will strengthen and formalise the strategic collaboration between the organisations.

Macquarie University and Cochlear partner for hearing research and audiology education

Macquarie’s Vice-Chancellor Professor S. Bruce Dowton (left) and Cochlear’s President Dig Howitt (Image credit: Jo Stephan, Macquarie University)

Cochlear is the global leader in implantable hearing solutions and focuses on technology innovations to treat a range of moderate to profound types of hearing loss. The company has long supported clinically focused hearing research, audiology education and advocacy in hearing health care.

The Cochlear Chair at Macquarie University will align this focus with the university’s own commitments in hearing research and education, as well as clinical practice and advocacy. The Chair will oversee the implementation of collaborative research and education strategies, with the long-term goal of developing a leading platform for further impactful research in hearing in Australia.

The announcement was made at Cochlear headquarters by Macquarie’s Vice-Chancellor Professor S Bruce Dowton, together with Cochlear’s President Dig Howitt, who was recently announced as Cochlear’s next Chief Executive Officer effective January 3 next year.

“Around 3.6 million Australians are affected by hearing loss, a number that will double by 2060 as the population ages. Macquarie University and Cochlear continue to commit ourselves to addressing that major health priority,” said Professor Dowton.

“Macquarie is home to the Macquarie Hearing Hub, and Cochlear continues to lead the market with innovative new hearing technologies—together we exemplify the strategic industry-academic engagement called for in the Australian Government’s National Innovation and Science Agenda, and we are in a good position for further impactful research in the hearing space.”

In addition to its commitment to the Cochlear Chair, Cochlear has also committed to provide financial support for the ongoing research activities of the university’s Professor of Hearing, Language & The Brain and Australian Laureate Fellow, Professor David McAlpine.

“Hearing loss is a major public health problem. There is increasing evidence of the importance of hearing to overall health, especially as people age. Developing evidence of the impact of untreated hearing loss on people’s health and the economy, and the effectiveness of treatments, is critical to ensuring hearing loss is treated appropriately. We are proud to sponsor the Cochlear Chair in Hearing and Healthy Ageing at Macquarie and to provide support to Professor McAlpine’s research. Professor McAlpine has already made significant contributions to the fields of audiology and hearing,” said Cochlear President Dig Howitt.

Cochlear moved its purpose-built global headquarters to Macquarie University’s North Ryde campus in 2010, allowing a strategic collaboration to grow in support of research, learning and teaching and advocacy around hearing health. This partnership has only increased in strength and benefit to the hearing health community, particularly with Macquarie’s establishment of the Australian Hearing Hub in 2013, which brings together a variety of research centres and hearing stakeholders.

Study Audiology at Macquarie University

The audiology program at Macquarie Audiology School is dedicated to preparing students to become professional audiologists. The university’s audiology program provides supervised clinical placements to hone its students’ professional skills. As well, numerous modules of scientific coursework allow students to learn the scientific fundamentals of audiology and understand the processes that contribute to congenital or acquired hearing loss and vestibular dysfunctions.

Program: Master of Clinical Audiology
Location: North Ryde, Sydney, New South Wales
Semester intake: February each year
Duration: 2 years

Apply to Macquarie University Audiology School!

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Find out more about studying audiology at Macquarie University. Contact OzTREKK’s Australian Audiology Schools Admissions Officer Heather Brown at heather@oztrekk.com.

Monday, August 21st, 2017

Macquarie Audiology expert calls attention to noise in the workplace

During Hearing Awareness Week (August 20 – 26, 2017), researcher Associate Professor Catherine McMahon, Head of Audiology at Macquarie University’s Australian Hearing Hub, wants companies and employers to be aware that even a moderately noisy working environment, such as an office, could be impacting their employees’ well-being.

Macquarie Audiology expert calls attention to noise in the workplace

Associate Professor Catherine McMahon, Head of Audiology at Macquarie University’s Australian Hearing Hub (Photo: Macquarie)

“While excessive noise can cause hearing loss, moderate levels which may not be damaging to hearing can increase stress, decrease motivation and therefore reduce workplace productivity,” explains Associate Professor McMahon.

While excessive noise is a leading cause behind hearing loss, with a 2010 Access Economics Report attributing noise as the reason behind 37 per cent of hearing loss cases in Australia, the impact of moderate noise levels on well-being and physical health can also be quite severe.

“Stress increases cortisol levels which can affect our weight, increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, depression and lead to lower life expectancy. Noise can also reduce our ability to sleep, and due to the need for increased attention to what we are doing—listening to someone speak, reading or writing—we are generally more fatigued by the end of the day. Of course, this can also cause increased effort when thinking, frustration and anxiety,” explains Associate Professor McMahon.

Workplace areas such as open plan offices, while an innovative design, need to be acoustically well considered, says McMahon, otherwise these spaces could be impacting employees’ ability to do their work comfortably.

“Noise is a subjective parameter, therefore we need to assess how an individual reacts to sound and determine its effects on distractibility, stress and productivity. For example, it’s important to remember that speech is time varying and changes in level and informational content. Therefore, speech from an adjacent cubical can be considered annoying if it is distracting others from working, which is not simply a matter of the level of an individual’s voice.”

In addition to companies and employers taking into account office acoustic design, McMahon also suggests the use of noise-cancelling headphones in noisy areas.

“Noise-cancelling headphones may help to some extent in reducing the impact of noise on a worker, particularly if the office can’t be altered to reduce sound. However, it should be noted that these types of headphones are designed to reduce the levels of noise, which has a different spectral quality than speech.”

However, one of the biggest tips that McMahon offers workplaces is to support their employees in taking breaks in order to reduce the impact of a noisy workplace.

“Noise and stress are cumulative—everyone needs a break from noise. So taking a lunch break or going for a walk during the day is a great strategy and is good for your physical and mental health,” she concludes.

Study Audiology at Macquarie University

Communication is a vital aspect of what it means to be human and hearing is critical to communicating effectively. Audiologists experts in the non-medical management of hearing disorders play a key role in assisting those with hearing impairments to successfully engage with society. This course will provide you with the skills, knowledge and training you’ll need to practice as a qualified clinical audiologist. It will develop your skills in assessment strategies, rehabilitation and habilitation of the hearing impaired, as well as provide you with training in research design.

Program: Master of Clinical Audiology
Location: North Ryde, Sydney, New South Wales
Semester intake: February
Duration: 2 years
Application deadline: October 30 each year; however, candidates are encouraged to apply as early as possible.

Apply to Macquarie Audiology School!

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Would you like more information about degrees offered Macquarie Audiology School? Contact OzTREKK’s Australian Audiology Schools Admissions Officer Heather Brown at heather@oztrekk.com.

Monday, July 25th, 2016

UQ is hearing what the community says about e-health

One in six Australians is affected by hearing loss, and that figure rises to 70 per cent for older people.

UQ Speech Pathology researcher Dr Carly Meyer is leading a study to see if telecommunications devices can help those affected.

UQ is hearing what the community has to say about e-health

Study audiology at UQ (Image credit: University of Queensland)

“The prospect of using modern technology can be daunting to some, but the internet, mobile phones and tablets have the potential to provide individualised healthcare,” Dr Meyer said.

“We are trying to find out how adults with hearing loss currently use telecommunications to support their general health and whether there are avenues to improve that.

“The study will look at all aspects of e-health and the use of technologies such as phones, email, internet, apps and videoconferencing.

“Ultimately the aim is to reduce the impact of hearing loss on individuals, their family and friends.”

UQ researchers are working in collaboration with the HEARing Cooperative Research Centre on the project.

The centre brings 21 Australian hearing healthcare organisations together for the first time.

Research by Dr Meyer and colleagues has found gaps in current practice could be addressed through modern technologies.

For example, technologies could be used to connect with family members during hearing rehabilitation.

“With increasing noise levels in everyday life, and an ageing population, the number of individuals with hearing loss is only expected to rise.

“Looking at new ways of addressing the hearing and communication needs of the community has to be prioritised.”

The researchers are recruiting volunteers with hearing loss or who have an adult family member or friend with hearing loss to participate in the study. Volunteers will be asked to complete a survey about their experiences with telecommunication technologies in healthcare and to provide ideas and feedback about areas of opportunity. Tasks can be done at a time and place suited to the volunteer and all participants will be in a draw to win a $100 gift card.

UQ Audiology School

UQ Audiology School has a strong international reputation for the quality of its graduates, the commitment of the teaching staff and its strong research focus. This program produces graduates with the conceptual base and skills necessary for entry level employment in the clinical practice of audiology.

Program: Master of Audiology Studies
Location: Brisbane, Queensland
Semester intake: February
Duration: 2 years
Application deadline: September 29, 2016

UQ Speech Pathology School

The speech pathology program at UQ is an accelerated program for students who have already completed an undergraduate degree. This program is 2.5 years in length and will prepare graduates for a career in speech pathology across any of the diverse areas in which speech pathologists practice, such as education, health or private practice.

Program: Master of Speech Pathology Studies
Location: Brisbane, Queensland
Next semester intake: July 2017
Duration: 2.5 years
Application deadline: February 28 each year

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Would you like more information about speech pathology and audiology programs at the University of Queensland? Contact OzTREKK Admissions Officer Krista McVeigh at krista@oztrekk.com.

Thursday, March 17th, 2016

UQ audiology research focuses on hearing loss in children

Research from the University of Queensland could help address one of the most common disorders in children: hearing loss in the middle ear.

Associate Professor Wayne Wilson said the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences had several exciting initiatives in the field of audiology.

UQ Audiology School

UQ research shows up to 20 per cent of students can have mild or worse problems from middle ear dysfunction (Photo credit: UQ)

“Recent research suggests that, on any given day in class, up to 20 per cent of students can have mild or worse problems from middle ear dysfunction,” Dr Wilson said.

“Picking up these problems from birth is not something that’s been done accurately in the past and we tend to only unearth those with substantial hearing problems that cannot be fixed.

“But currently UQ has Associate Professor Joseph Kei leading the way in this field by using new technology to more accurately identify middle ear dysfunction.

“It will take three to five years for this technology to transition from a research tool into wider clinical availability, but it is on its way.”

Dr Kei has pioneered wideband absorbance technology that efficiently and reliably identifies problems in infants.

Standard tools used to determine the middle ear status of children have been found to be insensitive to different types of middle ear disorders.

Infant testing until now has also been hit-and-miss at revealing where exactly trouble spots are located.

Dr Wilson and colleague Professor Andrew Bradley have also been working on increasing the efficiency of hearing tests in newborns.

“Our project has been an accelerated auditory brain scan that shortens the current process for babies from minutes down to seconds,” Dr Wilson said.

“That might not sound like much, but over the course of a year, that’s a significant improvement in efficiency. It then allows time for more comprehensive testing, rather than just a basic diagnosis.”

Audiology Clinic visits two or three Queensland schools each week under the direction of Clinic Manager Joshua Flett, screening dozens of children at a time.

Master of Audiology Studies at the University of Queensland

Program: Master of Audiology Studies
Location: Brisbane, Queensland
Semester intake: February
Duration: 2 years
Application deadline: September 29, 2016

There are 10 places available in the program each year for international students, including students from Canada. Offers will be made to applicants with the highest academic rank.

To be eligible to apply, you must have

  • completed an undergraduate degree (preferably in the fields of health, education, social, physical or biological sciences); and
  • achieved a minimum cumulative GPA of 4.00 on a 7-point scale in your university studies (see below for further explanation).

Please note that the above criteria are minimum requirements. Entry is competitive and the selection process is based on grade point average (GPA).

Students who have not yet completed an undergraduate degree may apply, as long as they will have graduated prior to commencing UQ Audiology program.

Apply to the University of Queensland Audiology School!

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For more information about studying audiology at the University of Queensland, please contact OzTREKK’s Australian Audiology Schools Admissions Officer Krista McVeigh at krista@oztrekk.com.

Thursday, March 3rd, 2016

Macquarie cares about hearing health

With a quarter of Australians set to face serious problems from hearing loss, it’s time for a new awareness campaign…

Today, on World Hearing Day, the Director of Macquarie University’s Australian Hearing Hub has called on the Federal Government to support a public and GP awareness campaign to protect Australians from permanent and avoidable hearing loss.

Macquarie University Audiology School

Director of the Australian Hearing Hub Professor David McAlpine (Photo: Macquarie University)

Globally, 360 million people experience hearing loss and one in six Australians are currently affected by a hearing impairment, resulting in a wide range of adverse health, social, and financial impacts.

With this number set to increase to one in four by 2050, Professor David McAlpine, Director of Macquarie University’s Australian Hearing Hub, says we should stop treating our hearing like a second-class sense.

“Hearing loss has a profound impact on the lives, employment, and finances of many Australians,” Professor McAlpine said.

“When you add in the costs to relationships, performance at work, and impacts to health, there is an urgent need for more Australians to know about the risks and have their hearing checked more often.

“Most Australians are unaware of the permanent damage even social noise can do to them, with studies showing a 25 decibel rise, indicating a mild hearing loss, can correlate to a seven year cognitive decline.

“We need a national hearing awareness campaign now to protect more Australians, similar to those that have helped many people quit smoking, avoid the sun, and practice safe sex.”

Professor McAlpine says a campaign should focus on three main pillars: raising awareness, prevention and regular check-ups, with support for GPs to assist patients. The approach parallels that of the World Health Organization, which recently highlighted the need for a renewed global resolution on the prevention of hearing loss, with the last resolution occurring over 20 years ago in 1995, focusing on awareness and action.

“Most Australians are completely unaware of the hearing damage they may be experiencing in everyday life, let alone the importance of getting their hearing checked regularly,” Professor McAlpine said.

“Exacerbating the issue is that most healthcare workers are not currently required to inquire about a patient’s hearing health, whereas eye testing is more actively encouraged.”

“Around 4 million Australians are affected by hearing impairment, with a reported $11 billion cost annually to the Australian economy, not to mention the fact that hearing-loss is known to exacerbate a person’s other existing health conditions,” Professor McAlpine explained.

As the World Health Organization campaigns to raise global awareness of hearing impairment and prevention of hearing loss in ‘children of the world’ during World Hearing Day this year, Professor McAlpine says it is also vital for Australians to remember that this is an issue affecting people of all ages, and that hearing and communication solutions can be tailored to individual need.

Professor McAlpine is the head of Macquarie Hearing Hub—whose members include Cochlear Limited, Australian Hearing, National Acoustics Laboratory, Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children (RIDBC) and its associated cochlear-implant service, Sydney Cochlear Implant Centre (SCIC), The Shepherd Centre, The HEARing CRC, and The ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders (CCD).

Members of the Hub work together and with other hearing health organisations to promote better hearing health and access to hearing solutions for all Australians in need.

Study audiology at Macquarie University

The Master of Clinical Audiology program at Macquarie University Audiology School is dedicated to preparing students to become professional audiologists. The university’s audiology program provides supervised clinical placements to hone its students’ professional skills. As well, numerous modules of scientific coursework allow students to learn the scientific fundamentals of audiology and understand the processes that contribute to congenital or acquired hearing loss and vestibular dysfunctions.

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Contact OzTREKK’s Australian Audiology Schools Admissions Officer Krista McVeigh for the latest information regarding Macquarie University Audiology School. Email Krista at at krista@oztrekk.com or call toll free 1-866-698-7355.

Monday, February 29th, 2016

Macquarie Hearing Hub seeks community volunteers

As the outdoor music festival season begins, researchers from the Macquarie Hearing Hub are continuing to recruit volunteers who have lived, worked, and enjoyed noisy environments for their study looking at how everyday noise exposure affects people’s hearing.

Macquarie Audiology School

Study audiology at Macquarie University

The study is looking into why it is that a proportion of people who report difficulty with everyday listening, particularly understanding speech in background noise, are found to have clinically normal hearing when tested. There is evidence to suggest that this type of hearing loss could be due to loud noises damaging the small hair cells that carry sound signals from the ear’s cochlear to the brain. In light of this, researchers will test volunteers for this particular type of hearing loss, in the hope of understanding more about how the condition occurs.

“We are looking for people with a history of noise exposure from work and/or leisure. For example, fire fighters, factory workers, bar staff, pilots, transport workers, landscapers, and builders are all examples of people who may have experienced noise exposure on the job. Also, people with substantial leisure noise exposure could include clubbers, motorbike riders, or motorsports enthusiasts,” explained Dr Elizabeth Beach, from the National Acoustic Laboratories (NAL) located in the Macquarie Hearing Hub.

Participants need to be between 30 and 55 years of age, and will be asked about their lifetime noise exposure history in an online survey that will take about 20 minutes. They will then be asked to attend a 3.5 hour lab appointment at the Macquarie University Hearing Hub (North Ryde campus), where the researchers will run a series of listening tasks to determine whether there is a correlation between a participant’s noise exposure and their auditory functioning. Participants can be provided with a written report about their hearing (including the results of their audiogram), and will also receive $40 for their involvement.

“If this study does find that these small hair cells are damaged by exposure to loud noise, it will have important implications for noise policy at public events, entertainment venues and the workplace,” concluded Dr Beach.

The study will continue until June 2016.

Macquarie Hearing Hub

The Australian Hearing Hub at Macquarie University unites researchers, educators, clinicians and innovators with expertise in audiology, speech pathology, cognitive and language sciences, psychology, nanofabrication and engineering sciences.

The Hearing Hub is a global leader in speech, hearing and language research. The Australian Hearing Hub leverages the university’s extensive international expertise in language sciences and cognitive sciences research, and in clinical research and professional training teams in audiology and speech language pathology.

Program: Master of Clinical Audiology
Location: North Ryde, Sydney, New South Wales
Semester intake: February
Duration: 2 years
Application deadline: TBA. For the 2016 intake, the application deadline was October 30, 2015.

Apply to Macquarie University Audiology School!

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Find out more about studying audiology at Macquarie University. Contact OzTREKK’s Australian Audiology Schools Admissions Officer Krista McVeigh at krista@oztrekk.com.