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PhD Studentship: Developing an objective measure of afferent hearing damage based on a novel type of auditory brainstem response


Location:  UK Other
Closing Date:  Wednesday 15 February 2023
Reference:  MED1920

Supervisor 1: Dr Katrin Krumbholz (

Supervisor 2: Dr Jessica de Boer (

Supervisor 3: Dr Magdalena Sereda (

Supervisor 4: Dr Eithne Heffernan (

Supervisor 5: Dr Alexander Hardy (

Location: Hearing Sciences, University Park

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 April 2023. Duration is 36 months full time.

Closing date: 15th February 2023.  

Project title: Developing an objective measure of afferent hearing damage based on a novel type of auditory brainstem response 

Sensorineural hearing damage can affect different elements of the inner ear and/or auditory nerve, such as sensory cells, afferent synapses or auditory nerve neurons. For some of these elements, damage or dysfunction may manifest as overt hearing loss, but for others, the effects on hearing thresholds may be minimal, and thus remain “hidden” to standard audiometric tests. Whilst such hidden hearing loss (HHL) may be a predominant driver of suprathreshold hearing deficits, such as difficulty understanding speech in noise, tinnitus or hyperacusis, there is currently no accepted diagnostic test for HHL. A reliable, quantitative measure for HHL would enable to assess the true state of an individual’s hearing status and help to elucidate underlying pathophysiology – a necessary precondition for developing new or individualized hearing treatments.  

This project will seek to develop such a measure using a novel type of auditory brainstem response (ABR) designed to be exclusively sensitive to afferent (audiometrically hidden) auditory damage. After establishing the response’s normative properties (i.e., in young, normal-hearing subjects), we will then characterize its dependence on age and audiometric status (hearing thresholds and otoacoustic emissions, or OAEs). 

This project would be particularly well-suited for graduates from audiology or life sciences with a keen interest in numeracy and computation. You will join a large and vibrant research cluster and benefit from strong supervisory and peer support. You will learn how to conduct advanced audiometric tests (including OAEs) and ABR recordings, as well as process ABRs using the cutting-edge computational and statistics tools, implemented in Matlab and R. You should have, or expect to obtain, a 1st- or 2.1-class bachelor’s, or a master, degree in a relevant scientific discipline, be self-driven and highly motivated, and have excellent communication and team-working skills. You should be eligible to apply for relevant research clearances that will be required including a check with the Disclosure and Barring Service. 

How to apply:

All applications should be made directly to the University (, selecting PhD Medicine (36 months duration) as course.

Please email with the followingdocuments and put “Dr Katrin Krumbholz advertised NIHR Nottingham BRC PhD studentship” in the email title: 

·        A C.V. (maximum 2 pages) 

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

·        An up-to 800-word personal statement (maximum excluding references) about why you are interested in doing this PhD, how the ideas outlined align with your interests and experiences, and any specificideas for research projects you may 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

Informal enquiries may be addressed to Dr Katrin Krumbholz

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