Could birdsongs help boost engagement with hearing tests?

North West London
Published Date: 25 Jan 2019

Novel idea to raise awareness of hearing loss and increase screening uptake wins funding from innovation workshop. 

Focussing on this area, the Imperial PSTRC, in collaboration with UCL Centre for Coproduction and NIHR CLAHRC NWL, ran an innovation workshop to bring new ideas to the table that could trigger positive change for adults with mild or moderate hearing loss. 

The winning idea, “Hearing Birdsong”, was inspired by one of the workshop delegates, for whom losing and then regaining with hearing aids the ability to hear birdsongs were key moments in her hearing loss journey. They were also motivated by the fact that hearing tests have remained essentially unchanged in decades. 

Their idea is to develop a safe space for people to check their hearing and to spark conversation on the subject of hearing loss, which could also act as a pre-screening tool to identify people in need of further testing. Using the pleasant and familiar sounds of birdsongs, the team hopes to help relax people and make the process feel less like a medical exam, which could be off-putting. 
By opening up the dialogue on hearing loss, the team hopes their proposal will help people with unaddressed hearing loss to get the treatment they need, and ultimately improve their quality of life. With £5,000 seed funding, the group will now start developing the concept further and, if found feasible, pursue pilot research to start bringing it to life. 

For more information contact Rachel Matthews r.matthews@imperial.ac.uk 07889 179 034