Edinburgh investors and audiologist help fund and test new system for hearing loss detection

An Edinburgh audiologist has played a crucial role in one of the most exciting scientific advances in hearing healthcare in decades.

An innovative new screening tool for hearing loss, and how it impacts on people’s lives, has been made possible thanks to investors in Edinburgh and a local hearing clinic.

Stephen Fairfield, who runs Fairfield Hearing in the city, was recruited to offer retail audiology insight to the firm working on the new HearLead screening tool. He has not contributed financially to the project, but has offered his expertise and time.

While it is still in development, the product could eventually allow people worried about their hearing lost to take a simple, yet detailed, test within minutes, which will assess whether they need proper clinical investigations and diagnostics.

Stephen said: “This is a hugely exciting project, which is being led by a research team originally from Germany but working in Edinburgh made possibly by funding from Archangel, an investment team in Rutland Square. A family member of one of my customers was involved from the investment side, and asked if I would help give my input as an audiologist working in the city.

“It’s taken a while to get this far – the first meeting to discuss how we could help happened in a coffee shop in Edinburgh, the morning before we went into lockdown! I’m delighted that we have received our first piece of kit this week to test for real.”

How it works

At the very early stages of hearing loss assessment, basic checks are carried out. One of the simplest forms, which has been used for generations, is the bleep test; put simply, clients press a button when they hear a noise. The new HearLead system is much more intelligent, and creates a 3D soundscape for clients to listen to, giving a much more realistic environment. Clients turn their heads to the noises they hear, which provides a much more lifelike picture of hearing ability in everyday environments.

And with hearing loss being intricately linked with a host of other health issues – such as cognition and balance – along with quality of life, Stephen is hopeful that the new system will become another tool for clinicians to use to help diagnose and manage hearing loss.

At the moment this is purely a screening tool, rather than a diagnostic machine, but according to Stephen it is a big leap forward and could be available on the High Street soon.

“This whole new system has been made possible thanks to capital investment from Edinburgh. At Fairfield Hearing we were delighted to be asked to play our part in testing the new screening system. Once it is fully tested it may be rolled out as part of a routine diagnostic tool, too.”

Visit Fairfield Hearing, 2 Stafford Street, Edinburgh EH3 7AU, call 0131 378 5800 or email [email protected] to make an appointment.

For more information visit fairfieldhearing.earsure.health

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