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New laboratory will train tomorrow's audiologists

Published: 
30 October 2003

New laboratory at the University of Southampton which will help cut waiting times for people in the region needing hearing tests has been officially opened by Romsey MP Sandra Gidley.

The £150,000 Audiology Clinical Skills Laboratory at the University's Institute of Sound and Vibration Research will be used to teach 30 new BSc Audiology students and 10 postgraduate MSc and Diploma students each year in a programme jointly funded by the Department of Health through the NHS Hampshire and Isle of Wight Workforce Development Confederation. Southampton is one of six centres in England selected to deliver the courses.

Audiologists assess and manage patients who have problems with hearing and balance. Developments in technology such as digital hearing aids and hearing screening for newborn infants is changing the nature of their work.

The Liberal Democrat MP, who trained as a pharmacist, said: "This is such rewarding work. This laboratory is badly needed. At present, waiting lists are far too long because of a shortage of trained staff."

The ISVR first started work in this field in 1972. Its director Professor Phil Nelson said: "It gives us great pleasure to see this expansion for audiology so we can help more people. We hope to expand further in the future."

The University is currently seeking donations to total £1.4 million (£4.3 million has already been raised) to complete new purpose-built facilities for the ISVR which will include improved facilities for the Hearing and Balance Centre.

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Notes for editors

  1. Digital images of the opening are available from Press and Public Relations.
  2. The University of Southampton is a leading UK teaching and research institution with a global reputation for leading-edge research and scholarship. The University, which celebrated its Golden Jubilee in 2002, has 20,000 students and over 4,500 staff and plays an important role in the City of Southampton. Its annual turnover is in the region of £235 million.
  3. The Institute of Sound and Vibration Research (ISVR) at the University of Southampton is an internationally renowned centre of excellence in teaching, research and consulting. In the 2001 Research Assessment Exercise, it received the top 5* rating. The University is currently raising funds for a #5.7 million new building for the Institute of Sound and Vibration Research. The interface between technology and humans has been at the centre of ISVR's activities, with active research and teaching programmes in audiology (including a highly respected MSc course), human vibration interactions, medical imaging, patient monitoring and physiological modelling. Clinics at ISVR (including the South of England Cochlear Implant Centre) and collaborations with hospitals are at the core of these projects. ISVR also runs undergraduate courses in various aspects of sound and vibration: an MEng/BEng degree in Acoustical Engineering, a BSc in Acoustics and Music, and new this year, a BSc programme in Audiology. www.isvr.soton.ac.uk

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