Archive for September, 2009

Audiologist Job

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

Employer:       University Hospital of North Staffordshire NHS Trust

Department:  Audiology Department
Location:        Stoke On Trent
Salary:             £20,710 to £26,839 pa

Job Type:        Fixed Term Temporary
Staff Group:   Healthcare Scientists
Pay Scheme:  Agenda for change
Pay Band:       5
Working pattern:  Full-time 

Closing Date:           11/10/2009 
Interview Date:      26/10/2009 


If we receive a high volume of applications we reserve the right to close any vacancies from further applications. Please ensure you apply without delay if you wish to be considered for this role.

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The University Hospital of North Staffordshire is looking to recruit a temporary full time Audiologist to the Audiology Department.
We are looking for an enthusiastic, well motivated, innovative resourceful, flexible and reliable character to join our multi-disciplinary team.

You will possess a BSc. in Audiology or BAAT part 1 and 2 and have relevant NHS experience consistent with your qualifications. Candidates should be building their portfolio towards becoming State Registered and have full professional body membership. Your work base will be the University Hospital of North Staffordshire NHS Trust but travelling throughout North Staffordshire to community clinics will be an essential requirement of the post.

You will be providing a comprehensive diagnostic and rehabilitation service for our Adult patients. Additionally there may be the opportunity to become involved in some of the other varied clinics that we offer such as tinnitus, paediatric, bone anchored hearing aid and audio-vestibular assessments.

The department is extremely well equipped with modern technology; we have very good educational resources both within the department and medical institute.

This temporary contract will cease in August 2010
Closing Date: Sunday 11th October 2009
Interview Date: Monday 26th October 2009

All criminal convictions or cautions will be disclosed by the Criminal Records Bureau to the Trust. Possession of a criminal conviction does not automatically make an applicant unsuitable for employment in the NHS. However some offences may preclude an applicant from having access to patients.

Applications from job seekers who require Tier 2 sponsorship to work in the UK are welcome and will be considered alongside all other applications. However, non-EEA candidates may not be appointed to a post if a suitably qualified, experienced and skilled EU/EEA candidate is available to take up the post as the employing body is unlikely, in these circumstances, to satisfy the Resident Labour Market Test . The UK Border Agency requires employers to complete this test to show that no suitably qualified EEA or EU worker can fill the post. For further information please visit UK Border Agency website.

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IMPORTANT INFORMATION about your application. Please read. . . . . . . . . . . .


2. Flexible working will be considered in line with Trust policies

3. Please note that non-NHS applicants with no previous NHS experience will ordinarily be appointed to the minimum of the band

4. Unless otherwise stated, if applying for a job within the European Union, you must ensure that you are already authorised to work there and provide evidence of such authorisation at interview stage

5. University Hospital NHS Trust is committed to equality of opportunity and welcomes applications from everyone regardless of ethnicity, disability, gender, age, faith or sexual orientation. The Trust seeks to establish a workforce as diverse as the population it serves.


Further Links

Contact details

If you would like to talk to somebody about this vacancy then please contact:

Contact Name
Clair Cank
Email Address
(01782) 552047

CRB Check

This post is subject to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (Exceptions Order) 1975 and as such it will be necessary for a submission for Disclosure to be made to the Criminal Records Bureau to check for any previous criminal convictions.

To apply on-line click here:

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Discovery of different ion-pore location on hair cells in the inner ear

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

New imaging suggests that instead of being on the sides of the tallest stereocilla, ion channels sit on top of the shorter projections scientists at Stanford University reports.

Millions of people suffer from hearing loss and deafness, and until scientists understand the molecular basis of normal hearing, it’s difficult to understand what can go wrong. “We need to know specifically how hearing works,” Anthony Ricci, PhD, associate professor of otolaryngology said, “or we can’t come up with better treatments.”

Herewith the full article:

Discovery of ion-pore location on cell alters long-accepted model of hearing

Scientists thought they had a good model to explain how the inner ear translates vibrations in the air into sounds heard by the brain. Now, based on new research from the School of Medicine, it looks like parts of the model are wrong.

Anthony Ricci, PhD, associate professor of otolaryngology, and colleagues at the University of Wisconsin and the Pellegrin Hospital in France found that the ion channels responsible for hearing aren’t located where scientists previously thought. The discovery turns old theories upside down, and it could have major implications for the prevention and treatment of hearing loss.

“I had thought that the channels were in a very different place,” said Peter Gillespie, PhD, professor of otolaryngology at Oregon Health and Science University, who was not involved with the study. “This changes how we look at all sorts of previous data.” The findings were published online in Nature Neuroscience on March 29.

Ricci explained, “Location is important, because our entire theory of how sound activates these channels depends on it. Now we have to re-evaluate the model that we’ve been showing in textbooks for the last 30 years.”

Ion channels on the inner ear “hair cell” aren’t located where scientists had thought. New imaging suggests that instead of being on the sides of the tallest stereocilia, ion channels sit on top of the shorter projections.

Deep inside the ear, specialized cells called “hair cells” sense vibrations in the air. The cells contain tiny clumps of hair-like projections, known as stereocilia, which are arranged in rows by height and connected by thin filaments called “tip links.” Sound vibrations cause the stereocilia to bend slightly, and scientists think the movement opens small pores, called ion channels. As positively charged ions rush into the hair cell, mechanical vibrations are converted into an electrochemical signal that the brain interprets as sound.

But after years of searching, scientists still haven’t identified the ion channels responsible for this process. To pinpoint the channels’ location, Ricci and colleagues squirted rat stereocilia with a tiny water jet. As pressure from the water bent the stereocilia, calcium flooded into the hair cells. The researchers used ultra-fast, high-resolution imaging to record exactly where calcium first entered the cells. Each point of entry marked an ion channel.

The results were surprising: Instead of being on the tallest rows of stereocilia, like scientists previously thought, Ricci’s team found ion channels only on the middle and shortest rows.

“It doesn’t mean that all our old ideas were wrong, but it means we haven’t put the pieces together in the proper way yet,” Ricci said.

Bundles of hair-like projections, called stereocilia, on a cell in the inner ear detect vibrations in the air and translate them into sound. In mammals, three rows of stereocilia are arranged by height, as shown above.

Ion channels on hair cells not only convert mechanical vibrations into signals for the brain, but they also help protect the ear against sounds that are too loud. Through a process called adaptation, the ear adjusts the sensitivity of its ion channels to match the noise level in the environment. Most people are already familiar with this phenomenon, Ricci said, though they might not realize it. “If you watch TV in bed and you have the sound turned down low, you can hear fine when you’re going to sleep,” he said. “But then when you get up in the morning and turn on the news, you have to turn the volume up.”

That’s because at night, when everything is quiet, the ear turns up its amplifier to hear softer sounds. “But when you get up in the morning,” Ricci said, “and the kids are running around and the dog is barking, the ear has to reset its sensitivity so you can hear in noisier conditions without hurting your ear.”

Defects in the ear’s adaptation process put people at risk for both age-related and noise-related hearing loss. Understanding adaptation is a fundamental step in preventing hearing loss, said Robert Jackler, MD, the Edward C. and Amy H. Sewall Professor in Otorhinolaryngology at Stanford.

“Many forms of hearing loss and deafness are due to disturbances in the molecular biology of the hair cell,” Jackler said. “When you understand the nuts and bolts of how the hair cell works, you can understand how it goes wrong and can set about learning how to fix it.”

The study was funded by grants from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communicative Disorders. Other scientists have attempted similar experiments in the past, but they used less sensitive imaging techniques. “Our microscope took images at 500 frames per second,” said Ricci, who led the imaging experiments. “That’s much faster than it’s ever been done before.”

Ricci and colleagues also used hair cells from rats, while previous experiments had been done in bullfrogs. Because mammals have fewer, more widely spaced rows of stereocilia, the team was able to determine the precise location of the ion channels.

“They chose their experimental preparation quite wisely,” Gillespie said. “The ear is really hard to get at, because it’s a tiny organ, it’s encased in very hard bone and there are very few hair cells.”

But Ricci’s study wasn’t just a triumph in experimental protocol. Millions of Americans suffer from hearing loss and deafness, and until scientists understand the molecular basis of normal hearing, it’s difficult to understand what can go wrong. “We need to know specifically how hearing works,” Ricci said, “or we can’t come up with better treatments.”



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How to speak like dolphins and how to see with your hearing

Friday, September 4th, 2009

What if humans can be taught to echolocate (the ability to distinguish objects in the dark), the same process that dolphins and bats use to tell if there are obstacles in their path? This can proof to be very useful.

Ben Underwood lost his eyesight at age three due to cancer but he has learned himself the amazing technique of echolocating. Here is a 3 min video (best with sound) to demonstrate how he did it. Unfortunately Ben died of cancer early this year.

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To read more on echolocation here an article from

Make Like a Dolphin: Learn Echolocation


With just a few weeks of training, you can learn to “see” objects in the dark using echolocation the same way dolphins and bats do.

Ordinary people with no special skills can use tongue clicks to visualize objects by listening to the way sound echoes off their surroundings, according to acoustic experts at the University of Alcalá de Henares in Spain.

“Two hours per day for a couple of weeks are enough to distinguish whether you have an object in front of you,” Juan Antonio Martinez said in a press release. “Within another couple weeks you can tell the difference between trees and pavement.”

To master the art of echolocation, all you have to do is learn to make special clicks with your tongue and palate, and then learn to recognize slight changes in the way the clicks sound depending on what objects are nearby. Martinez and his colleagues are developing a system to teach people how to use echolocation, a skill that could be particularly useful for the blind and for people who work under dark or smoky conditions, like firefighters — or cat burglars.

Most animals that use echolocation have organs that are specifically adapted to emit and receive sonar signals, but we humans have to rely on our rather clumsy mouth and ears. For instance, while dolphins use a special structure in their nose to generate up to 200 clicks per second, people can make only three or four clicks per second.


By studying the physical properties of the many different sounds the human mouth can produce, the Spanish researchers hope to maximize the power of human echolocation. In their latest study, published in a recent issue of the journal Acta Acustica united with Acustica, the group taught 10 of their students and colleagues to use basic echolocation. Then they compared different noises and clicks to determine the best type of sound for “seeing” your surroundings.

“The almost ideal sound is the ‘palate click,’” said Martinez in a press release, “a click made by placing the tip of the tongue on the palate, just behind the teeth, and moving it quickly backwards.” The palate click is better than other sounds, because it can be made in a uniform way, works at a lower intensity, and doesn’t get drowned out by ambient noise.

But there are a few drawbacks to human echolocation – like cotton mouth. “The quality of the sound tends to degrade after a few minutes of constant performance,” the researchers wrote, “due to progressive dryness of the mouth.” Luckily, clicks cause less dryness than other sounds, because you don’t have to exhale to make a click – which also means the sound doesn’t interfere with breathing.

Martinez isn’t the first to recognize the potential for echolocation in humans. At least two examples of blind people who have taught themselves to echolocate (see video above) have made headlines in the past few years, and audiologist Peter Scheifele of the University of Cincinnati has studied these unusual cases.

“Acoustically, according to laws of physics, it’s certainly possible to make a pulse that will tell you something about objects in front of you, such as fences, garbage cans or basketballs,” Scheifele said. How much detail a person can “see” with echolocation depends not only on the speed of their clicks, he said, but also on the frequency. The higher the frequency, the more precise details you can see.

Scheifele has only worked with blind people who can echolocate, but he agrees that others could probably learn the skill. “My gut tells me if you can do it if you’re blind, you can do it if you can see,” he said. “Half the battle is really trying to get yourself in the groove of ‘I can do this if I try.’ We tend to be more visual animals than acoustic, and people don’t usually do it because there’s not a need for it.”


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A short history of audiology and medicine

Thursday, September 3rd, 2009

*”Doctor, I have an ear ache.”
2000 B.C. – “Here, eat this root.”
1000 B.C. – “That root is heathen, say this prayer.”
1850 A.D. – “That prayer is superstition, drink this potion.”
1940 A.D. – “That potion is snake oil, swallow this pill.”
1985 A.D. – “That pill is ineffective, take this antibiotic.”
2000 A.D. – “That antibiotic is artificial. Here, eat this root!”

* Adam and Eve had an ideal marriage. He didnt have to hear about all the men she could have married, and she didnt have to hear about the way his mother cooked.

* Why can Captain Kirk hear so well?
Because he has three ears: a left ear, a right ear, and a final frontier.

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NHS job cuts

Thursday, September 3rd, 2009

With Gordon Brown saying he is going to protect the NHS and the next moment he uses taxpayer money paying management consultants to tell them… oh you have to cut 10% of the NHS staff, this advice does not seem like good advice according to Shadow Health Secretary Andrew Lansley MP.

To read more have a look at the following two links. The first commenting on the outcome of the study:

and the second on Ministers rule out NHS job cuts:

Job Cuts

In short the study concludes:

The NHS would need to slash its workforce by around 10% to help meet planned savings of £20 billion, it has been reported.

A study, commissioned from consultancy firm McKinsey and Company, said the workforce would need to be cut by 137,000 to meet efficiency savings by 2014.

It said clinical staff would have to go alongside administrators.

The report, recommends a range of possible actions such as a recruitment freeze starting in the next two years, a reduction in medical school places from October and an early retirement programme to encourage older GPs and community nurses to make way for “new blood/talent”.

The report was presented to the Department of Health in March this year, it carries the department’s logo and has been disseminated among senior NHS managers.

The study said £2.4 billion could be saved if hospitals with the lowest levels of staff productivity got up nearer the average.

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