Helen studied at the University of Leicester, gaining her PhD in Cognitive Psychology in 2011. She is Principal Research Fellow, a Chartered Psychologist and Research Lead at the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Nottingham Biomedical Research Centre. Working alongside clinical and academic colleagues in Hearing Sciences, her program of research aims to evaluate novel digital interventions to support adults with hearing loss and those with whom they communicate.
Helen is specialty lead for ENT within the East Midlands NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN), an Associate Member of the British Society of Audiology (BAA), a Senior Fellow of the British Society of Audiology (BSA), Vice Chair of the BSA Special Interest Group for Cognition in Hearing, an Associate of the Higher Education Academy and Associate Fellow & Chartered Member of the British Psychological Society.
Funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), Helen's PhD examined how accurate and precise an individual's long-term memory for photographic images might be to inform its potential as a query language for image database retrieval. During her PhD, Helen gained experience in eye tracking and mathematical modelling techniques.
At the NIHR Nottingham Biomedical Research Centre, Helen has developed expertise in presbycusis (age-related hearing loss), adult aural rehabilitation, auditory and cognitive training, and the clinical and cognitive assessment of adults with hearing loss. Helen's research spans health service delivery, research priority setting, feasibility studies, development and assessment of novel digital interventions, systematic literature reviews and meta-analyses. Her programme of research is funded via the NIHR, ESRC, and charities.
One of the main issues faced by people with hearing loss is the reduced ability to understand speech, particularly in noisy and challenging environments. An ongoing research project aims to identify whether everyday listening abilities can be improved through online auditory-cognitive training using games where users practice cognitively-challenging speech-based listening tasks. Tests of speech intelligibility, cognition and self-reported communication are assessed before and after training to identify whether generalisable (real-world) benefits can be achieved.
Helen undertook a prestigious NIHR Career Development Fellowship between 2018-2023. This Fellowship supported research to develop a digital tool to support first-time hearing aid users. 'GAIN' employs established behaviour change techniques to help encourage new NHS patients to use their prescribed hearing aids optimally.