Hearing evolved as an essential survival sense and is fundamental to modern day quality of life. Tinnitus is a disabling hearing disorder that significantly impacts 7% of us, over 345,000 New Zealanders.
"Tinnitus is so challenging to understand and treat because it is so different from person to person," says Associate Professor Grant Searchfield.
"Because many people experience it quite catastrophically and it really does affect their life. If you can manage their tinnitus then you can effectively reduce the burden of anxiety and depression as well. That’s another benefit to the research: the broader aspects of better quality of life and wellbeing."
During his audiology research career, A/Prof Searchfield has seen high tech hearing aids become smarter and smaller with involvement from high-end consumer electronics companies.
These devices can help tinnitus sufferers. But is it a cure?
"The search continues for a tinnitus cure in the form of an easy to administer drug, but evidence suggests we may need to personalise treatment – so different therapies for different people based on cause, genetics and lifestyle.
"This is the future of tinnitus research."
Watch this recent interview with A/Prof Searchfield on Newshub on 17 October:
And enjoy this video of A/Prof Searchfield's recent public lecture hosted by AMRF.