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Professor steve Bell


Research interests

  • His primary area of research involves evoked responses: Measuring electrical responses from the hearing and balance system in response to sensory stimulation. This work can be broadly divided into three areas: 1. Improving the measurement of responses. This includes signal processing approaches (statistical and multi-channel) to better detect the signals in the brain and developing stimulation methods such as chirps and maximum length sequences to better elicit the responses. 2. Exploring the clinical utility of responses. Applications of evoked responses include hearing threshold testing, diagnosis of hearing and balance problems, evaluating the benefit of hearing aids or cochlear implants, and inter-operative monitoring during surgery. These applications are particularly important in patients who cannot co-operate with testing, for example young infants or patients undergoing anaesthesia. 3. Using evoked responses to further understanding of the processing of sound or vestibular input by the brain, for example seeing how connections in the brain alter following cochlear implantation and exploring how attention/ consciousness modulate the processing of sensory information in the brain.
  • His is also interested in evaluating the benefits of hearing aid and cochlear implant technology, for example by measuring access to sound using evoked responses, or by developing objective approaches to measure the performance of advanced features of hearing aids such as noise reduction or adaptive directional microphones in order to predict the benefit and subjective experience that patients will gain from such devices and has previously researched the effects of mobile phones on hearing.
  • He is principle investigator on the Engineering and Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC) funded project ‘Personalized fitting and evaluation of hearing aids with EEG responses’, a joint project between the Universities of Southampton, Manchester, Imperial College and the Interacoustics Research Unit. His research has also been supported by the Oticon Foundation, the National Institute for Health Research, the National Institute of Academic Anaesthesia, the Medical Research Council, the British Society of Audiology, the Kerkut Trust and the European GUARD project.

More research

Accepting applications from PhD students.

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Address: B13, East Highfield Campus, University Road, SO17 1BJ (View in Google Maps)


Steve obtained his first degree in Natural Sciences with final year specialising in Experimental Psychology. He then worked for 4 years in areas of community forensic psychology and dementia care. During that time, he became aware of the clinical scientist training scheme. Audiological Science was particularly appealing to him as it combined direct patient contact with scientific research. He obtained a regional clinical scientist training place from Reading and Windsor which funded him to take the MSc in Audiology at ISVR, University of Southampton and then spent a year training at King Edward VII hospital in Windsor, after which he obtained the Certificate of Audiological Competence (CAC) in 1999. Due to his interest in research he decided to return to the ISVR to study for a PhD, which he completed in 2002. He has since remained at the ISVR.

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