Driving audiology

  • Shane Seiger-Eatwell

The Interacoustics Research Unit (IRU) is a story of innovation and applied research focused on clinical impact

IRU consists of a handful researchers with a passion for innovation and research, and for making a difference for the future of audiology. The goal for IRU is to carry out applied research and deliver solutions to the challenges faced by the clinical community.

James Harte, Director of IRU, explains:

- A great deal of the research carried out by many of the leading universities is driven to increase the understanding of fundamental principles in audiology and hearing science. IRU’s goal is to translate these advances into solving real-world challenges faced by audiologists, ENTs and hearing healthcare professionals. We do not carry out research for the sake of research alone but to provide new diagnostic tests, improve accuracy and efficiency of existing ones, and demonstrate reliable evidence for the efficacy of Interacoustics technologies.

Making an impact on future audiology

What matters to James Harte is the influence and impact IRU has on the field of audiology and in continuing to help Interacoustics make leading products.

- As a company, Interacoustics are creating products that have a huge impact on people’s lives. They guide clinicians in decision making on diagnoses and rehabilitation options, which can have a lifelong impact. That of course gives us a tremendous obligation and responsibility to make good, reliable and accurate products. By working hand-to-hand with the academic and clinical communities, IRU can work to the highest research standards, James Harte says.

IRU also feels it is extremely important to openly publish their work in leading international journals in audiology and hearing science, rather than work in secret.

James Harte says:
- By doing this we build trust, gain feedback and partners for our projects, and obtain credibility with key opinion leaders around the world. It is simply the case that without sound clinical evidence and a solid scientific base, documented in published articles, key opinion leaders will not adopt new technologies. This would spill over to the broader clinical community, who look up to key opinion leaders as first movers.

This need for a close connection to the research community was why Interacoustics took the decision to locate IRU at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) in 2013. Being in a university environment ensures sparring with leading researchers and provides access to talented students to work on IRU projects.

On a final note, James Harte adds:
- We are four permanent staff members at DTU, working with maybe 3-6 PhD and MSc student projects at any given time. We depend a lot on our collaborations with universities, hospitals, and PhD students around the world as well as in Denmark.

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