Chief Scientific Officer to open hearing research unit

12 Nov 2009 10:33:00.000

A national research unit which brings together academics and clinicians to conduct novel research into the management of hearing loss and tinnitus officially opens this month.

The National Biomedical Research Unit in Hearing (NBRUH), which is funded by the National Institute for Health Research, is a partnership between The University of Nottingham, Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, and the Medical Research Council Institute of Hearing Research.

The unit, which launched in April 2008, aims to improve the lives of those with hearing problems using training and behavioural techniques that help to manage and counter the effects of hearing loss in adults and children. Professor Sue Hill, Chief Scientific Officer at the Department of Health, will officially open NBRUH on Friday November 13. She will receive a tour of the NBRUH facilities — based at Ropewalk House in Nottingham city centre — with Dr Heather Fortnum, Executive Director of NBRUH, and Peter Homa, Chief Executive of Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust.

Click here for full story

Professor Hill will also see demonstrations of research being carried out at the unit, representing NBRUH’s three main research strands — hearing and learning in early childhood, auditory habilitation in hearing loss and tinnitus. An auditory learning theme underpins all the research areas. Learning is the common route to improved intervention, through the development of novel, age-appropriate technologies.


Hearing loss can affect people at any age. In the UK, about nine million people are deaf or hard of hearing. The likelihood of moderate to profound deafness rises in the over 60s, but a considerable number — about 20,000 in the UK — are children aged up to 15 years old. Translating research findings into improved interventions possibly using new technologies lie at the heart of the NBRUH ethos.


“One of the unique strengths of NBRUH lies in its commitment to the “and back again” part of the translational research mantra “from bench to bedside and back again”. We believe that scientists need to appreciate what hearing impairments mean, both from the standpoint of the patient and the clinician in order to make good progress in the field,” said Dr Fortnum. “The proposed research programme of NBRUH will build on established programmes of research and intervention using hearing instruments, auditory learning and the auditory brain to offer further development of our broad research themes.”


Peter Homa, Chief Executive of Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “The Trust is internationally recognised for its research — it’s an important step in groundbreaking benefits for patients, not just here but nationally and internationally. This new unit will mean we can work even more closely with the University and the Institute of Hearing Research to develop new treatments.”


For more information on the National Biomedical Research Unit in Hearing visit


— Ends —


Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 100 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and Times Higher (THE) World University Rankings.


More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to RAE 2008, with almost 60 per cent of all research defined as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’. Research Fortnight analysis of RAE 2008 ranks the University 7th in the UK by research power. In 27 subject areas, the University features in the UK Top Ten, with 14 of those in the Top Five.


The University provides innovative and top quality teaching, undertakes world-changing research, and attracts talented staff and students from 150 nations. Described by The Times as Britain's “only truly global university”, it has invested continuously in award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. Twice since 2003 its research and teaching academics have won Nobel Prizes. The University has won the Queen's Award for Enterprise in both 2006 (International Trade) and 2007 (Innovation — School of Pharmacy), and was named ‘Entrepreneurial University of the Year’ at the Times Higher Education Awards 2008.


Nottingham was designated as a Science City in 2005 in recognition of its rich scientific heritage, industrial base and role as a leading research centre. Nottingham has since embarked on a wide range of business, property, knowledge transfer and educational initiatives ( in order to build on its growing reputation as an international centre of scientific excellence. The University of Nottingham is a partner in Nottingham: the Science City.


Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust was named one of the top performing teaching Trusts in the UK in the 2008 ‘Good Hospital Guide’ by health information specialist Dr Foster. The guide says that among the reasons for the Trust’s success are that patients recover better than the national average after operations to replace previous hip and knee replacements and that the dedicated isolation facilities available at the Trust provide a good environment for patients with infectious diseases.


For the second year running, the Trust has also been highlighted as having one of the lowest ‘standardised mortality rates’ in the country. This means that patients in our hospitals are more likely to survive serious illness than in many other hospitals in the UK. The full guide can be read at     


NUH is one of the largest trusts in the UK, with an annual budget of more than £682 million. It was formed on April 1 2006, when two top-rated trusts — Queen's Medical Centre and Nottingham City Hospital — merged in order to develop a range of high-quality, sustainable patient services across the two campuses.


As a major teaching Trust, NUH enjoys close links with the city's universities and attracts and develops the highest calibre of staff. It continues to be the hospital of choice for patients, encourage investment and remain at the forefront of research.


It has one of the busiest emergency departments in the UK and has a total of 1,633 hospital beds across both campuses.

Story credits

More information is available from Stuart Love, Unit Manager at NBRUH on +44 (0)115 823 2608,
Tara De Cozar

Tara De Cozar - Internal Communications Manager

Email: Phone: +44 (0)115 846 8560 Location: University Park

Additional resources

No additional resources for this article

Related articles

Patients guiding stroke research

Published Date
Thursday 28th January 2010

Film director launches pioneering hearing research

Published Date
Wednesday 3rd November 2010

Study to test new tinnitus 'treatment'

Published Date
Monday 19th March 2012

Meningitis vaccine study gets £200,000 boost

Published Date
Thursday 29th May 2008

Government's top scientist visits University of Nottingham

Published Date
Thursday 19th November 2009

Helping back pain sufferers to stay in work

Published Date
Thursday 28th January 2010

National survey to shape the future of hearing loss research

Published Date
Thursday 27th November 2014

Media Relations - External Relations

The University of Nottingham
C Floor, Pope Building (Room C4)
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 5798