SHEFFIELD, ENGLAND — The British Tinnitus Association (BTA) has announced that it is awarding a grant of £118,000 (~$161K USD) to a team from Macquarie University, Australia for a study that aims to develop a reliable objective measure of tinnitus.
The three-year research project – led by Professor David McAlpine of Macquarie University, New South Wales, Australia, with a team including Dr. Roland Schaette of the Ear Institute, University College London – will use artificial intelligence (AI) to determine whether a person has tinnitus – or not – through examining recordings of their brain waves.
Using artificial intelligence means we can look at more data, more quickly and more thoroughly and is an exciting use of this technology.
–Professor David McAlpine
Currently, the presence of tinnitus is confirmed by a report from the person experiencing it, and its impact and improvement measured by questionnaires. These questionnaires have limitations, and an objective measure of tinnitus would allow future treatments to be accurately assessed, leading to more effective management of tinnitus. Ultimately, such a measure would also be able to confirm that someone’s tinnitus is ‘cured’.
The approach used in the study will also investigate the causes of tinnitus and where changes in the inner ear and hearing brain might be occurring. Findings from the study have the potential to guide new treatment options for people with tinnitus.
BTA’s large research grants
This is the second of two projects to be funded from the organization’s £243,000 large research grant funding programme in 2020/21, which is the highest amount ever awarded, and “cements our position as one of the largest tinnitus research funders in the UK”.
The other project, which was previously announced in December, ‘Novel cytokines as biomarkers for tinnitus’ is already underway.
“We’re delighted to reveal the second of our large research grant recipients, and it is particularly pleasing that it is to an international collaboration, which highlights our vision for a world where no one suffers from tinnitus. “This project is an important study and could provide essential information which will enable future treatments to be objectively assessed, leading to more effective management of tinnitus. Ultimately, such a measure would also be able to confirm when a cure – or cures – is found.”
–David Stockdale, Chief Executive of the British Tinnitus Association
“Whilst we have made our largest ever awards for research this year, tinnitus research is dramatically underfunded and we’re committed to funding, supporting and lobbying for what’s needed to silence tinnitus once and for all,” said BTA Chief Executive, David Stockdale.
The British Tinnitus Association (BTA) is an independent charity supporting thousands of people who experience tinnitus and advise medical professionals from across the world. We are the primary source of support and information for people with tinnitus in the UK, facilitating an improved quality of life. We aim to encourage prevention through our educational programme and to seek effective treatment for tinnitus through a medical research programme.
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