A RUSTINGTON student’s work helping deaf children has inspired her to launch her own research project into deafness – an idea which has now received a prestigious £1,600 grant
Claire Vella, 23, who studies psychology at the University of Sussex, was awarded a summer grant by Action on Hearing Loss for her proposed research into tinnitus.
She aims to explore the connections between tinnitus and other senses, which in some cases have previously proven to lesser or worsen the extent of the hearing disorder.
Claire, who spent three years working as an assistant at the Palatine Primary School, in Worthing, said: “I felt inspired to get involved into hearing loss research after I worked at a special needs school where I was supporting a child with hearing impairments and I had to learn how to care and maintain her hearing aids.
“This sparked an interest in the topic of hearing loss, which up until now I had been unable to explore further.
“Research into hearing loss is vital as it enables new and improved treatments to be developed, which I know from my first-hand experience, would at the very least be invaluable to the development and wellbeing of hearing impaired children.”
Claire, of Copper Hall Close, is one of just 14 students nationwide to have been awarded the grant this year. She will be taking on an eight-week term of research.
Action on Hearing Loss hopes this funding will increase the number of young scientists coming forward to study hearing loss – research which could one day lead to a cure being found for deafness and tinnitus.
Dr Ralph Holme, head of biomedical research at Action on Hearing Loss, wants to increase the pool of talented researchers and will give a prize to the best researcher.
He said: “We believe providing an opportunity for students to experience working in one of the leading UK labs is a great way of inspiring them to get involved and consider a career in hearing loss research.”