- Adele Goman
- COG-MHEAR Research Programme Manager
Limits on travel due to the COVID pandemic may have prevented the inaugural COG-MHEAR workshop from taking place in person but enthusiasm was high amongst the COG-MHEAR team for the first (virtual) COG-MHEAR workshop held towards the end of June 2021.
Joining from living rooms and offices across the UK, Switzerland and beyond, the COG-MHEAR researchers and representatives from Sonova came together virtually to discuss the technical and practical aspects of development plans for the COG-MHEAR programme. After some brief introductions, the workshop began with Dr Adele Goman giving an introductory overview of COG-MHEAR objectives and the COG-MHEAR user engagement plans. The COG-MHEAR team were delighted to welcome Dr Peter Derleth, Principal Expert in Hearing Performance from Sonova who provided valuable information on innovations in – and benefits of – hearing aid technology in his presentation.
A short interlude enabled attendees to grab a cup of tea or coffee from their own kitchens before the second half began. The COG-MHEAR Programme Director, Professor Amir Hussain kicked off this half of the session by outlining the development plans envisaged for the first two years of COG-MHEAR. Further technical details were provided by COG-MHEAR project leads Dr Peter Bell, Dr Ahsan Adeel, Dr Qammer Hussain Abbasi, Professor Tharmalingam Ratnarajah, Professor Mathini Sellathurai, and Dr Alexander Casson.
Following the presentations, a stimulating open discussion took place. The team discussed an array of topics including strategies for preserving end-user privacy, technical considerations, and practical things to consider from prototype development through clinical trials and beyond. Representatives from Sonova provided key insight and recommendations on technical aspects including listening with two hearing aids and the importance of information from both ears, as well as highlighting considerations for wireless information transmission. The researchers were also grateful for the advice Sonova provided on clinical evaluation and the process from concept to market for innovations in technology.
The COG-MHEAR User group coordinator Professor Michael Akeroyd said “User engagement is absolutely central to COG-MHEAR, it helps ensure that the research is really relevant to end users, and any concerns about the uptake of the developed technology are included from the beginning. Our first workshop with Sonova was tremendously helpful“
Input and feedback from Sonova will continue throughout COG-MHEAR helping to maximise the useability of the developed technology, address end-user concerns, and make sure that the research performed is truly relevant to health practice and care. COG-MHEAR will hold several workshops over the course of the programme with Sonova and other user group members. User group members are an integral part of the COG-MHEAR research programme, and you can learn more about the user group here.