Restored Hearing Making Sound Success
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In 2009 a student research project investigating a low frequency therapy for temporary tinnitus was joint runner-up in the 2009 BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition, held in Dublin, Ireland. The student research project which has now evolved into a web-based company, Restored Hearing was one of the companies which showcased recently at the 2010 exhibition.
In 2009 Eimear O'Carroll, Rhona Togher, Niamh Chapman, then 6th Year Leaving Certificate students in the Ursuline College, Sligo, NW Ireland, together with Anthony Carolan, their physics teacher entered the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition 2009 with a project entitled 'The Sound of Silence An Investigation into Low Frequency Therapy for Tinnitus Sufferers'. In addition to being overall runner-up, their project won the Health Research Board's special prize for medical innovation.
During 2009, Eimear, Rhona and Anthony further developed their project incorporating as Restored Hearing in May 2009 and formally launching in August 2009. Restored Hearing has now become a client company of NovaUCD, the Innovation and Technology Transfer Centre at University College Dublin. One of the company co-founders is now a first year undergraduate physics student at the University.
Temporary tinnitus, or 'ringing in the ears' is caused by exposure to loud environments, for example listening to loud music at concerts or on iPods or operating loud machinery. In such noisy environments damage is done to the sound receptor cells in the cochlea. The cochlea is that part of the ear which converts wave-vibrations into electric signals before sending these signals onto the brain. When these receptor cells, or tiny hairs, get bent or damaged during exposure to the loud noises, signals continue to be sent to the brain even after the exposure to the noise has ceased. This results in a continued perception of a noise that isn't there.
To alleviate this problem and to assist sufferers, Restored Hearing has developed a unique online and tailored, minute-long therapy sessions for individuals who want to clear their ears of the 'ringing' sensation and regain 'buzz free' hearing. The therapy is based on sound and wave theory, using a low hum to physically stimulate the cochlear hairs back into their original upright position.
Speaking after the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition 2010, Eimear O'Carroll, co-founder, said, "We were delighted to exhibit at this year's exhibition. We were genuinely surprised that we have gone from a school project to a corporate exhibitor in one year but this illustrates the importance of the competition." She added, "Taking part in the BT Young Scientist competition has shown us that science, and making new discoveries, can lead to both business and academic opportunities."
During 2010 Restored Hearing intends to continue researching the therapy's effects for the sufferers of permanent tinnitus. In addition to running the company, Rhona and Eimear are continuing their studies and are undergraduate physics students in University College Dublin and University of Edinburgh respectively.
Source: NovaUCD - The Innovation and Technology Transfer Centre at University College Dublin
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