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A British company has unveiled a prototype product that could soon have a far-reaching impact on the early diagnosis and treatment of hearing conditions including tinnitus.

Cambridge-based engineering and design consultancy Plextek created the product with that can be integrated into standard, everyday headphones. By syncing the technology with a smart phone app, the user can be alerted to a potential hearing issue and encouraged to seek advice or support well before most people would be aware of any problem.

The product works by being able to accurately monitor subtle changes within the Auditory Evoked Potentials (AEP): a signal sent from the brain by an acoustical stimulus that measures an individual’s hearing ability. In tests using a standard laptop and USB audio card, it was proved that it was possible to record ABR waveforms using a range of everyday headphones including the currently popular in-ear buds, as well as more traditional headphones from producers such as Sennheiser and Sony.

For those who work in noisy environments hearing protection is essential, and should be provided by employers as a matter of course. Anyone who frequently spends time in an environment where volume levels exceed specific levels should be provided not only with Personal Protective Equipment, but also systems and procedures to minimise the risk of hearing damage, including health monitoring. However there are large numbers of people who work in environments where noise levels aren’t monitored, and they are less likely to have regular hearing tests. The development of a product that can fit with users’ existing headphones could give those people an early warning of any potential hearing issues, enabling them to take action before irreversible hearing damage is sustained.

If you or someone you care for has sustained hearing damage as a result of their employment, it is quite possible you could make a claim for compensation. Our solicitors have years of experience in handling cases of noise induced hearing loss and work related hearing problems and will swiftly be able to tell you if you have a claim, and if so, how much that claim could be worth. Contact us today, free of charge and with no obligation to continue if you chose not to, and let us see how we can help you get the compensation you deserve.

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