Eszter Porter Q&A

What is your role on the clarity Project?

My main role is focused upon the recruitment of participants (both with healthy hearing and hearing loss) to assess how well the simulated hearing aids work. The participants will listen to sentences of speech in noise and write down what words they hear. These participants will help show which hearing aid model is showing the most promise.

How did you end up working in this area?

I had recently completed an MSc in Neuroimaging methods when I began to seek research-based jobs as a way to gain more experience before pursuing a PhD. My MSc thesis was a brain stimulation project looking at speech perception and production processes which led me down the route of hearing sciences. I saw this job as an ideal environment to build upon my skills and better prepare me for my future career.

What is exciting about the clarity project?

An exciting aspect of the project is that it promotes open source code and materials, to encourage the development of science as a challenge that can be taken on by anyone, even if they’re not in the world of hearing and sound.

What would success look like for the project?

To me, success for the project would be seeing contestants from different backgrounds and fields, whether they are from an academic or industry background, collaborating to achieve the best creative solutions to improve hearing aid technology.

How will it make a difference to peoples’ lives?

If the project successfully leads to a new approach to hearing aid technology that improves people’s ability to hear speech in background noise it will be a huge leap forward. It may encourage more people to make use of their hearing aids and ease the feeling of social isolation by allowing them to follow a conversation with more ease.

What’s the best thing you’ve read, seen or listened to over the last year?

The Everything Hertz podcast. It is an entertaining way to listen to some critical discussions about scientific life and research hosted by 2 friends who completed their PhDs together. (Warning, there’s adult language on the podcast.)

Tell us a sound fact that will blow our minds!

It is believed that the animal that can perceive the highest sound frequency is the wax moth, not a bat!

The wav moth can hear up to 300 kHz! Photo Sarefo, CC BY-SA 3.0