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Deborah Hall

Professor of Hearing Sciences, Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences

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Biography

Deborah Hall is the Deputy Director of the NIHR Nottingham Biomedical Research Centre (funded 2017-2022) where she leads research projects on measures in clinical trials, tinnitus and translational neuroscience. Deborah graduated from Brunel University in Psychology and completed a PhD in Cognitive Neuropsychology with Profs Glyn Humphreys and Jane Riddoch at Birmingham University in 1996. She moved to the MRC Institute of Hearing Research in Nottingham to develop auditory functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), firstly as a postdoctoral research fellow, then as a programme leader. In 2009, she left to establish cognitive neuroscience teaching and research in the Division of Psychology at Nottingham Trent University, whilst also leading the tinnitus research group at the NIHR Nottingham Hearing Biomedical Research Unit. Following the successful refunding of the BRU, she joined the School of Medicine at the University of Nottingham as Professor of Hearing Sciences and was Director of the BRU from April 2012-March 2017. Deborah is a Trustee of the Ear Foundation (http://www.earfoundation.org.uk/)

Deborah was awarded the British Society of Audiology Thomas Simm Littler prize in 2010 for her services to audiology. She is Chair of the 'Outcome measurement' working group of TINNET (2014-2018) (http://tinnet.tinnitusresearch.net/) and Training Coordinator of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Networks European School for Interdisciplinary Tinnitus (ESIT) Research (2017-2021)

Expertise Summary

Deborah has been working in the field of auditory functional magnetic resonance imaging for over 15 years. Over the years, her research has introduced novel imaging strategies to circumvent the problem of the background scanner noise and has used these tools to examine acoustical and cognitive aspects of normal and impaired hearing, including pitch perception and auditory selective attention. Within the BRC, her primary research goals are to develop a good evidence base for selecting outcome instruments for assessing treatment-related change for complex multi-dimensional conditions including hearing loss and tinnitus. Additional interests include the mechanisms of tinnitus and sensorineural plasticity after hearing loss, as well as the evidence base for effective tinnitus management strategies. This applied work brings together knowledge of the central auditory system and psychological concepts to develop a more holistic understanding of tinnitus.

Teaching Summary

I gained my Postgraduate certificate in Higher Education in 2011 with a distinction.

I currently have no formal teaching obligations, but I supervise BMedSci students, and PhD students, and I am happy to host clinical and non-clinical internships.

Research Summary

  • My overall aim is to create new knowledge about how to determine whether treatments for common hearing-related conditions have worked or not.
  • I'm focusing on three of the most common hearing-related conditions (otitis media with effusion, sensorineural hearing loss, and tinnitus).
  • This work separates out what it is important to measure ("domain/s") from how to measure it ("instrument/s").
  • Manualisation and feasibility study of audiologist-delivered counselling for tinnitus (ISRCTN13059163)

Recent Publications

Past Research

  • coding of basic auditory features in the human auditory cortex
  • neural basis of speechreading
  • neural basis of selective attention in human auditory cortex
  • referral pathways for tinnitus management in clinical practice
  • systematic reviews
  • RESET2 trial (https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01541969)
  • QUIET1 trial (https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02315508)

Future Research

  • Building a consensus on outcome measures for interventions that seek to restore (pseudo) binaural hearing in adults with unilateral severe-to-profound hearing loss
  • Assessing the feasibility of extending generic preferenced-based measures of health-related quality of life to increase their sensitivity to interventions for hearing

School of Medicine

University of Nottingham
Medical School
Nottingham, NG7 2UH

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