The Hearing Industry Research Consortium (IRC) has announced the results of its first public Request For Grant Proposals (RFP).

Piers Dawes, PhD, research fellow at the University of Manchester, and Andrea Pittman, PhD, associate professor at Arizona State University, were selected to each receive $150,000. Both will focus on understanding the interaction between cognition and hearing aids.

The IRC received more than 15 grant proposals after announcing the grant and formation of the consortium last August at the International Hearing Aid Research Conference in Lake Tahoe, Calif.

Dawes’ research is titled “Tuning of auditory attention: the importance for hearing aid acclimatization and benefit.”

“Hearing loss is very common and leads to difficulties with communication, social isolation, depression, poor general health, and possibly cognitive decline,” said Dawes. “One reason for the low use of hearing aids is problems adjusting to listening with hearing aids. We are very excited by our new IRC-funded research because we think this research will address a key reason why some people struggle to adjust to hearing aids. The research could have a big impact in improving adjustment to hearing aids, increasing benefit, and improving quality of life.”

Pittman’s research proposal is “Assessing advanced hearing aid features using behavioral tasks that vary in cognitive demand.” In collaboration with the IRC’s member companies, she will examine the benefits of advanced hearing aid features with the cognitive demands of children and adults with hearing loss.

The IRC will repeat the funding of new research projects every year, with different research goals for each RFP. A new RFP for 2013 will be released this coming summer.

The Hearing Industry Research Consortium is made up of the heads of research from many leading hearing aid manufacturers, including GN ReSound, Oticon, Phonak, Siemens, Starkey Hearing Technologies, and Widex.

The IRC was created to promote a noncompetitive, mutually agreed upon research agenda benefiting the hearing aid industry, its customers, and end users.

SOURCE: Hearing Industry Research Consortium