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PhD Studentship- Maximizing the slope of the psychometric function for speech-in-noise tests


Location:  UK Other
Closing Date:  Saturday 31 December 2022
Reference:  MED1908

Supervisor 1: Prof Michael Akeroyd 

Supervisor 2: Dr Joseph Sollini 

Supervisor 3: Dr Chris Sumner 

University of Nottingham, School of Medicine

Location: Hearing Sciences, University Park, Nottingham

Funding status: This studentship is funded by the NIHR (National Institute of Health and Care Research) Nottingham Biomedical Research Centre. The studentship will cover home University rates which includes an annual stipend of £17,668 per annum for 2022/23 and tuition fees. UK/Home students only.

Studentship start date: 1st February 2023 is the preferred start date but will accept applications to commence 1st April 2023. Duration is 36 months full time.

Closing date: 31st December 2022

Project title: Maximizing the slope of the psychometric function for speech-in-noise tests

Project description:

The psychometric function measures how performance varies with speech level in a speech-in-noise task. It runs from chance to perfect via threshold. Its slope defines how much percent correct is gained per decibel of speech level. In general, the steeper the slope the better; a steeper slope ought to allow a higher resolution of test, which is needed to enable the detection of finer changes in performance that might be an early marker of a future hearing loss. The goal of this project is to research new methods to make the slope as steep as possible. It's quite easy to make a slope shallow but making it steep could be quite a challenge.

You will learn about speech-in-tests, comparison of different signals and background sounds (and their construction), psychometric methods and signal detection theory. There will be scope for experimental research using normal-hearing and hearing-impaired participants and developing computer simulations of performance.

You should have or expect to obtain a first class or upper 2.1 honours degree (or equivalent), or an MSc/MA, in neuroscience, psychology, audiology or other relevant scientific discipline. Research experience in auditory research will be an advantage. You will have excellent communication and team-working skills, be self-driven and highly motivated. You should also be eligible to apply for relevant research clearances that will be required including a check with the Disclosure and Barring Service. 

The successful applicant will join a large and vibrant research cluster and benefit from strong supervisory and peer support. 

Informal enquiries may be addressed to Professor Michael Akeroyd 

 How to apply:

All applications are to be made directly to the University, selecting PhD Medicine (36 months duration) as the course. Please apply at:

In the research proposal section, please include “Prof Michael Akeroyd advertised NIHR Nottingham BRC PhD studentship” in the title. You are required to upload the following documents to your application: 

·        A maximum of a 2-page C.V. 

·        Degree certificate and transcript (if already graduated) or a recent transcript.

·        800 words personal statement (maximum but excludes references) about why you are interested in doing this PhD, how the ideas outlined align with your interests and experiences and any specific ideas you have for research projects you have in this area.

·        Either two references (in a non-editable format, on headed paper and signed by the referee) or the details of two referees that we can contact. One of the references must be academic.


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