Affordances, Constraints and Conventions in Developing Technologies to Assist Human Listening - Presented by Amy V. Beeston Thursday 25 January 2018 at 6pm for 6.30pm start University of Sheffield, The Diamond Building, Leavygreave Road, Sheffield, S3 7RD


Yorkshire and North East Branch Evening Meeting
Affordances, Constraints and Conventions in Developing Technologies to Assist Human Listening - Presentation by Amy V Beeston
Thursday 25 January 2018: 18:00 for an 18:30 Start
University of Sheffield, The Diamond Building, Leavygreave Road, Sheffield S3 7RD


Presentation Overview

Our sense of hearing facilitates our socialising and helps us to stay emotionally well. However, over 11 million people in the UK now have some level of hearing loss, and current predictions suggest that 20% of the population will be thus affected by 2031 (Hill et al., 2015). With such high prevalence, hearing loss must be viewed through a societal lens, not simply as a healthcare problem to be fixed by medical means. It is imperative, also, to support technological advances in hardware and software with behavioural research that encourages people to make best use of the assistive listening devices available to them

The presentation will briefly introduce the healthy human auditory system, and overview problems encountered with hearing losses through congenital deafness, disease, ageing or excessive sound exposure. Dr Beeston will discuss a range of assistive technologies which aim primarily to optimise their users’ speech-recognition scores (as a proxy for improving communication), and show the impact that these technologies can have on other types of every-day listening tasks. Examples are drawn from her experiences working with hearing impaired individuals to improve access to multi-party conversation using cochlear implants (Wells et al., 2014), and in listening to live and recorded music with hearing aids (Greasley et al., 2018). The presentation will then assess aspects of auditory function that are not yet well-supported by current technology (e.g., adaptation to real acoustic environments), and will reflect on whether a more joined-up approach to hearing support and hearing protection might be implemented in the future.


Hill, S., Holton, K., and Regan, C. (2015). Action Plan on Hearing Loss. Official document of the Department of Health and NHS England. 

Greasley, A., Crook, H., and Beeston, A.V. (2018). Listening to music with hearing aids: benefits, challenges and strategies. The Listening Experience Database (LED) Project Conference, Milton Keynes, UK, 6-7 March. 

Wells, B., Brown, G.J., Crook, H., Beeston, A.V., Kurtić, E., and Bradley, E. (2014). Meeting the challenge of simultaneous talk for cochlear implant users. 15th International Clinical Phonetics and Linguistics Association Conference (ICPLA), Stockholm, Sweden, 11-13 June.

Please report to main reception on arrival.

No need to book. Everyone welcome, but for catering purposes it would be helpful if you could confirm your attendance by registering at least a week before the meeting.  CPD certificates will be provided.

A selection of refreshments will be provided. The map of the campus is attached (building 199 in G3) and the directions to the Diamond can also be found at


Secure parking is available in the nearby Q-park off Rockingham Street


We welcome any members from other branches of the Institute. 

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25 January 2018   through   8:29 PM
University of Sheffield
The Diamond Building
Leavygreave Road
Sheffield, S3-7RD
United Kingdom

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