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Automatic Cortical Audiometer

HEARworks Pty Limited

Date Funded:
  • 30 August, 2013

Project summary

Development of a novel fully automatic cortical audiometer.

What is the issue?

HEARworks Pty Limited is the commercial arm of the The HEARing CRC and works in concert with that organisation for the common purpose of creating sound value™ through research and innovation to prevent, and to better remediate, lost productivity resulting from hearing loss in children and adults.

HEARLab is an innovation of the HEARing CRC and National Acoustics Laboratories, developed to meet the needs of clinicians for a portable, multifunctional instrument to conduct electrophysiology for the assessment of hearing. HEARLab comprises basic hardware that is driven by software modules running on a standard laptop computer.

The first two HEARLab modules are for Aided Cortical Assessment and Auditory Brainstem Response testing respectively. These modules were developed with funding support from the Commonwealth, AusIndustry and the NSW Government.

The Medical Devices Fund grant will help to fund the development of the third HEARLab module – the Automated Cortical Assessment test. There is a need for this test at both ends of life.

Firstly, it will enable the testing of awake babies and older children with multiple disabilities, even those with auditory neuropathy (a form of deafness that cannot currently be objectively assessed in any other way).

Secondly, it will enable the testing of elderly people who cannot respond behaviourally, typically because of stroke or dementia. The new test will therefore fill a gap in the tests available to clinicians who work with babies and elderly people with cognitive impairment. It will also have application in testing hearing to verify hearing loss in those seeking compensation for occupational noise injury.

What does the technology aim to do?

This critical new piece of software will provide the world’s first fully automated and totally objective test of hearing thresholds.

The test will safely and painlessly measure signals generated by the auditory cortex of the brain in response to sound, while not requiring any active automated, which will both decrease the time needed to perform the test, and also decrease the skill level needed to administer the test.

HEARLab and the Automated Cortical Assessment test will be welcomed around the world, but the inclusion of Australian Hearing within the Hearing CRC will ensure that it is immediately available to the people of NSW. In addition, the initial trials with the new module will occur here, at the Australian Hearing Hub in Sydney.

Company contact

Professor Robert Cowan, Chief Executive Officer
(03) 9035 5347