Hearing IRC News

  • Announcing the 2017 RFP: "The impact of audiovisual integration on acoustic communication in hearing impaired adults"

    Since 2010 the hearing industry’s largest manufacturers have collaborated to sponsor a non-competitive, mutually agreed upon research agenda benefiting the hearing aid industry, its customers, and end users. The framework for this collaboration is the Hearing Industry Research Consortium (IRC).

    This year's Request for Proposal (RfP) is entitled "The impact of audiovisual integration on acoustic communication in hearing impaired adults". Hearing IRC wishes to support pre-competitive research that advances understanding of the effects of both hearing aid processing and individual audiovisual integration abilities on hearing aid benefit in real-life speech communication. For many years, research on the effects of hearing-aid use has mainly considered factors related to auditory perception. Real-life communication, however, does not occur solely in the auditory domain, but instead triggers simultaneous activation of different modalities, requiring cross-modal integration.

    Applications are available on the Hearing IRC web site. The deadline for proposals is August 18th, 2017, and decisions will be announced by December 31, 2017.


  • Announcing the 2016 Grant Recipients

    By the deadline of August 2016 IRC had received a large number of outstanding grant proposals from leading universities around the world in response to this year’s request for proposals on auditory ecology and its contribution to quality of life, with emphasis on the individual.

    IRC is very pleased to announce that the 2016 grant recipient is the team lead by Principal Investigator Dr Inga Holube, Institute of Hearing Technology and Audiology, Jade University of Applied Sciences in Oldenburg in cooperation with Dr. Markus Meis from Hörzentrum Oldenburg, Germany.

    The project explores the individual hearing aid benefit in real life by developing tools that momentarily assess the health-related quality of life in individual every-day listening situations. The concept uniquely combines the analysis of the acoustical conditions, self-assessments and external observations that allow characterizing psychologically and sociologically the behavior of hearing-impaired persons in self-selected environments.

    “Once again we are very pleased to have received so many excellent proposals from universities all around the world. We know it takes a big effort to prepare such applications, and we want to express our sincere appreciation s to all applicants for their contribution,” said Stefan Launer, 2016-2017 Chair of the IRC.


  • Announcing the 2016 RFP: Auditory Ecology and its contribution to Quality of Life, with Emphasis on the Individual

    Since 2010 the hearing industry’s largest manufacturers have collaborated to sponsor a non-competitive, mutually agreed upon research agenda benefitting the hearing aid industry, its customers, and end users. The framework for this collaboration is the Hearing Industry Research Consortium (IRC).

    The focus of this RFP is Auditory Ecology, a concept introduced by Gatehouse (1999) to describe the relationship between the acoustic environments experienced in everyday life and the perceptual demands of different individuals in these environments. Gatehouse found that individuals with more diverse auditory lifestyles had a stronger preference for more sophisticated signal processing strategies. Research that seeks to develop tools for characterizing auditory lifestyles and relates these to the effects of signal processing would be of benefit to the hearing-aid industry.

    Applications are available on the Hearing IRC web site. The deadline for proposals is August 21, 2016, and decisions will be announced by December 31, 2016.


  • Announcing the 2015 Grant Recipients

    By the deadline of August 2015 IRC had received 6 outstanding grant proposals from leading universities around the world in response to the most recent RFP, which focuses on Big Data Outcome Measurement and Treatment.

    IRC is very pleased to announce that the 2015 Grant recipients are the teams lead by Principal Investigators Dr Peter Nordquist, Research Institute Hörselbron, KTH Stockholm, Sweden as well as the team lead by Dr Harvey Dillon, National Acoustic Laboratories, Sydney, Australia. Each team received an award of 150’000 USD to pursue their research.

    Both projects look at how coordinated data collection in audiological service delivery systems can be exploited to examine relations between patient characteristics, treatment outcomes, and process variables. This may provide new evidence for the development of improved treatment. Meanwhile, the diversity of real-life clinical practice may cause any data to be very ‘noisy’, potentially invalidating conclusions regarding cause and effect.

    “Once again we are very pleased to have received so many excellent proposals from universities all around the world. We know it takes a big effort to prepare such applications, and we want to express our thankfulness to all applicants for their contribution,” said Stefan Launer, 2016-2017 Chair of the IRC.


  • Announcing the 2015 RFP: Outcome Measurement and Treatment Prescription

    Since 2010 the hearing industry’s largest manufacturers have collaborated to sponsor a non-competitive, mutually agreed upon research agenda benefitting the hearing aid industry, its customers, and end users. The framework for this collaboration is the Hearing Industry Research Consortium (IRC).

    Coordinated data collection in audiological service delivery systems can be exploited to examine relations between patient characteristics, treatment outcomes, and process variables. This may provide new evidence for the development of improved treatment. Meanwhile, the diversity of real-life clinical practice may cause any data to be very ‘noisy’, potentially invalidating conclusions regarding cause and effect. IRC wishes to promote serious research in this area, and therefore this year the IRC is requesting proposals within the topic of ‘Large-scale approaches to outcome measurement and treatment prescription’. The $300,000 funding pool is open to research labs around the world.

    Applications are available on the Hearing IRC web site. The deadline for proposals is August 16, 2015, and decisions will be announced by December 31, 2015.


  • Announcing the 2014 Grant Recipients

    By the deadline in August 2014 IRC had received 21 outstanding grant proposals from leading universities around the world in response to the most recent RFP. While last year’s grant recipients, Steven Colburn (Boston University, USA) & Theo Goverts (VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam) and Gitte Keidser & Virginia Best (National Acoustic Laboratories, Australia) were focussing on research in the field of Perception of dynamic spatial listening scenarios, the 2014 RFP focuses on Neurodegeneration: Perceptual Consequences and Quantification in Human Subjects.

    IRC is very pleased to announce that the 2014 Grant recipients are Prof. John Grose, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Dr. Elizabeth Beach, PhD, National Acoustic Laboratories, Australia.

    John Grose is Professor at the department of Otolaryngology - Head & Neck Surgery, and his work will focus on characterizing auditory neurodegeneration in humans, combining basic psychoacoustic measurements with electrophysiological measurements.

    “There is increasing evidence that noise exposure can result in permanent hearing changes even if the ability to detect quiet sounds remains intact”, Dr John Grose says - “This project looks specifically at whether regular attendance at loud music venues is associated with a compromised ability to discern audible sounds over the long term. I am very enthusiastic be working with the IRC on this project, as we consider this study an important next step in our understanding of the perceptual consequences of hearing loss and aging”.

    The project will be undertaken in the Hearing Research Laboratory at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, which has a distinguished history of studying human auditory function using both behavioral and electrophysiological tests.

    Elizabeth Beach is a Research Psychologist at NAL, and her work will focus at addressing outcomes of a potential target group of noise exposed workers, in combination with basic auditory assessments. Elizabeth says: “It was such a great topic for the IRC to initiate a request on, and it was a topic that we had already been thinking about a lot. We're very much looking forward to the study and reaching a better understanding of the nature of hidden hearing loss."

    Both projects look at the so-called ‘hidden hearing loss’ being an implication of degeneration of neurons in the auditory fibers, due to noise exposure. The term ‘hidden hearing loss’ refers to the fact that it is not obvious from an audiogram, that hearing has deteriorated (significantly), but speech understanding in noise is severely reduced.

    “Once again we are very pleased to have received so many excellent proposals from universities all around the world. We know it takes a big effort to prepare such applications, and we want to express our thankfulness to all applicant for their contribution,” said Joel Beilin, 2014-2015 Chair of the IRC.


  • Announcing the 2014 RFP: Neurodegeneration

    During the last five years, our understanding of the pathophysiology of hearing loss has been substantially enhanced, and challenged, by the discovery of auditory neuronal damage, which does not always manifest in the audiogram. This is a very interesting new area of research, and this year the IRC is requesting proposals within the topic of Neurodegeneration: Perceptual Consequences and Quantification in Human Subjects. The $300,000 grant is open to research labs around the world.

    Applications are available on the IRC website. The deadline for proposals is August 15, 2014, and decisions will be announced by December 31, 2014.


  • Announcing the 2013 Grant Recipients

    The IRC received 24 outstanding grant proposals from around the world for this most recent RFP. Last May, Piers Dawes, Ph.D., and Andrea Pittman, Ph.D., were awarded the first IRC grants for research aimed to advance the understanding of the interaction between cognition and hearing aids.

    Goverts is head of the Audiological Center and a medical physicist audiologist at the VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam, and Colburn is the director of the Hearing Research Center and professor of biomedical engineering at Boston University. Their research will take a detailed look at speech recognition in realistic dynamic listening scenarios.

    "We are very excited by the opportunities provided by this grant to address questions related to spatial hearing in complicated listening situations,” said Goverts. “We hope that our work will help audiologists to better treat people with hearing problems."

    Best currently works as a research scientist with the National Acoustic Laboratories in Sydney, Australia, and as a research assistant professor at Hearing Research Center, Boston University. Her research will examine a dynamic speech comprehension task for assessing real-world listening ability and hearing aid benefit.

    “We are delighted that the IRC has decided to support this work. The grant will enable us to develop a new test that measures how well people can follow dynamic conversations in noisy places,” said Best. “Using this test we will also gather new knowledge about how hearing loss and hearing aids affect this critical part of everyday communication."

    "We are very pleased to have received quite a large number of excellent proposals from renowned universities all around the world, and we want to thank every applicant for his or her contribution,” said Stefan Launer, 2013 Chair of the IRC. “It shows us that we have selected a topic of great interest and potential for the research community and thus our entire industry. We have selected proposals that present a mixture between innovative approaches to basic science and direct clinical applicability. We wish the two selected research teams great success with their projects, and we very much look forward to seeing the results being openly and publicly presented and discussed. Hopefully this initiative will stimulate further research in this exciting field."


  • RFP 2013 Perception of dynamic spatial listening scenarios

    Dear colleagues,

    The hearing aid industry’s largest manufacturers have collaborated to create the Hearing Industry Research Consortium (IRC) to develop and direct a non-competitive, mutually agreed upon research agenda benefitting the hearing aid industry, its customers, and end users.

    The IRC is requesting proposals for a research project on “Perception of dynamic spatial listening scenarios”. The $300,000 grant pool is open to research labs around the world. Further details are available on the IRC web site at www.hearingirc.com and in attached document.

    The IRC board is comprised of the heads of research from the top hearing aid manufacturers in the world including GN ReSound’s Andrew Dittberner; Oticon’s Graham Naylor; Phonak’s Stefan Launer; Siemens’ Joel Beilin; Starkey Hearing Technologies’ Brent Edwards; and Widex’ Lars Sunesen.

    The deadline for proposals is September 1, 2013, and decisions will be announced by December 31, 2013.

    I am chairman of IRC for 2013, and enquiries may be directed to me or any of the others named above.

    Please feel free to further distribute this email to researcher you think might are interested in this field.

    Best regards
    Stefan Launer

    VP Science and Technology
    Phonak AG


  • Announcing the First IRC Grant Recipients

    The Hearing Industry Research Consortium (IRC) is excited to announce the results of its first public Request For grant Proposals (RFP). Piers Dawes, Ph.D, Research Fellow at the University of Manchester, and Andrea Pittman, Ph.D., Associate Professor at Arizona State University, were selected to each receive $150,000 for their research proposals that are aimed to advance the understanding of the interaction between cognition and hearing aids.

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

    Dawes’ research will focus on “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 will examine “Assessing advanced hearing aid features using behavioral tasks that vary in cognitive demand.” “We believe that the formation of an Industry Research Consortium is a bold and innovative move by the major hearing aid manufacturers to advance the science and outcomes of hearing technology,” said Pittman. “We look forward to collaborating with these companies as we examine the benefits of advanced hearing aid features to the cognitive demands of children and adults with hearing loss.”

    “Our field is just beginning to understand how hearing aids can positively affect cognition and how cognitive ability affects hearing aid benefit,” said Stefan Launer, the 2013 chair of the IRC. “We are excited to be able to advance this important research area through the funding of projects by these two outstanding researchers at world-class universities.”

    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.


  • Worldwide Hearing Industry Research Consortium Announced

    $300,000 Grant to be Awarded to Winning Proposal on Interaction of Cognition and Hearing Aids

    The hearing industry’s largest manufacturers have collaborated to create the Hearing Industry Research Consortium (IRC) to develop and direct a non-competitive, mutually agreed upon research agenda benefitting the hearing aid industry, its customers and end users.

    As its first act, the IRC is requesting proposals for a research project on the interaction of cognition and hearing aids. The $300,000 grant was announced at the International Hearing Aid Research Conference in Lake Tahoe, Calif., and is open to research labs around the world.

    The IRC board is comprised of the heads of research from the top hearing aid manufacturers in the world including GN ReSound’s Andrew Dittberner; Oticon’s Graham Naylor; Phonak’s Stefan Launer; Siemens’ Joel Beilin; Starkey Hearing Technologies’ Brent Edwards; and Widex’ Lars Sunesen.

    Applications are available on the IRC web site at www.hearingirc.com . The deadline for proposals is November 1, 2012, and decisions will be announced by December 31, 2012.

    About the Hearing Industry Research Consortium The Hearing Industry Research Consortium (IRC) is made up of the heads of research from the top hearing aid manufactures in the world, which include GN ReSound, Oticon, Phonak, Siemens, Starkey Hearing Technologies and Widex. The IRC was created to have a non-competitive, mutually agreed upon research agenda benefitting the hearing aid industry, its customers and end users. For more information about the Hearing Industry Research Consortium, visit www.hearingirc.com.


  • Industry Research Consortium has a new website

    The hearing industry research consortium has a new website to support industry-wide research initiatives.


Published on: 05/02/2017