Hearing loss, a hidden condition, ranks first in the UK for years lived with disability.
Hearing loss disproportionately affects underserved communities. It causes communication difficulties, anxiety and isolation, and is associated with frailty, dementia and depression. It results in poorer education and employment prospects, widening inequalities. In 2014, less than 1% of UK health research funding was spent on hearing, and even this has decreased recently.
Addressing National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) priorities, and the government’s levelling-up agenda, our Hearing Health Theme led by an NIHR Senior Investigator uses established interdisciplinary strengths, to tackle the challenges of hearing loss across the social spectrum.
Our aim is to improve prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and management of hearing loss and associated co-morbidities, in order to fundamentally shift the emphasis from hearing loss to hearing health. Our service users, clinical networks, industry and charity collaborations shape our priorities.
Each project builds on new discoveries with the expectation each will generate proof-of-concept or feasibility data. Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) studies underpin new grant applications that translate the findings along the research pipeline towards clinical implementation and patient benefit. Early successes within the previous NIHR Manchester BRC demonstrate we accelerate national initiatives, providing a clear pathway from research discoveries to patient benefit.