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People in Mental Health and Clinical Neuroscience

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Eithne Heffernan

Senior Research Fellow, Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences



Dr Eithne Heffernan is a Senior Research Fellow in the NIHR Nottingham Biomedical Research Centre (Hearing Theme) and the NIHR School for Primary Care Research in the University of Nottingham. Her current research examines co-existing dementia and hearing conditions (e.g., hearing loss, tinnitus). She leads a James Lind Alliance Priority Setting Partnership to generate priorities for future research about co-existing dementia and hearing conditions. She also leads an NIHR-funded project to co-design a toolkit to improve the inclusion of under-served groups in dementia and hearing research.

She has been awarded a prestigious NIHR Three Schools Dementia Career Development Award and an NIHR School for Primary Care Research Postdoctoral Fellowship. The latter will support the co-design of an intervention to improve primary care services for adults with hearing loss, including those with complex needs.

She sits on the INTERDEM Academy Management Board, which supports the career development of Early Career Dementia Researchers throughout Europe. She is a also a dementia awareness advocate as a member of the Understand Together Campaign Working Group (National Dementia Office, Ireland) and the Dementia Carers Campaign Network (Alzheimer Society of Ireland).

Her previous research examined social isolation in adults with hearing loss. She developed and validated outcome measures to assess this construct, including the Social Participation Restrictions Questionnaire (SPaRQ). She has also conducted research with the National Ambulance Service of Ireland to identify core outcomes for Community First Response for pre-hospital emergencies, as well as to evaluate their response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

She has supervised numerous student projects. Recently, she supervised a masters project that used Multi-modal Critical Discourse Analysis to investigate representations of hearing loss in the UK media, in addition to an undergraduate project that explored specialist pathways in audiology services for patients living with dementia.

Expertise Summary


Psychometric analysis

Questionnaire development and validation

Qualitative research

Co-design / co-production

Patient and Public Involvement/Engagement (PPIE)


Hearing loss


Social isolation

Outcome measurement


Prehospital care

School of Medicine

University of Nottingham
Medical School
Nottingham, NG7 2UH

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