Students Staff

04 September 2014

Pioneering hearing aid secures Essex national award shortlist

Researchers at the University of Essex have been shortlisted in the Outstanding Contribution to Innovation and Technology category of the national Times Higher Education Awards.

The shortlist recognises the work of the research team that developed BioAid – a hearing aid app, which, feedback shows, has transformed lives around the world, and pioneered the use of mobiles to test sophisticated hearing aid technology.

Launched in December 2012, BioAid was downloaded over 20,000 times across 90 countries and was iTunes’ most-downloaded medical app in 11 countries in its first six months. It was developed by a team in Essex’s Department of Psychology as a way of testing their new biologically-inspired technology.

Under the direction of Professor Ray Meddis, BioAid was conceived and developed by Dr Nick Clark at Essex’s Hearing Research Laboratory, with support from Dr Wendy Lecluyse and Tim Jürgens.

Professor Meddis said: “BioAid really challenges the hearing aid industry because it showed there are quicker, and cheaper ways to test new technologies, and get user feedback.

“It was the first hearing aid app based on strong academic research when it launched and by making the algorithm open source, we ensured other researchers could use it, develop it further and ultimately speed up the production of new, better hearing aids. Already at least four companies worldwide are working to implement the algorithm using the Android platform to bring the app within the reach of the least wealthy in countries where access to healthcare is very limited.”

The BioAid app replicates the complexities of the human ear. It puts the user in control, is available to anyone, anywhere without the need for a hearing test, and potentially holds the key to a future where tiny, phone-based hearing aids can be dispensed and adjusted remotely.

Professor Geoff Ward, Head of the Department of Psychology, said: "This is fantastic recognition for the excellent research performed by Professor Meddis and his team over many years. The team's success illustrates so well the importance of the theoretically-driven and highly-relevant research that is being performed by so many here in the Department of Psychology."

Now in their tenth year, the Times Higher Education Awards celebrate the excellence and achievements of UK higher education institutions. This year’s final will take place on 27 November at the Grosvenor House Hotel, Park Lane, London.

Find out more about BioAid.


More information

For further information, please contact the University of Essex Communications Office, telephone: 01206 873529 or email:

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