The project aims to support preventative strategies to hearing conservation through two major interdisciplinary research and development activities. The first (WP1 – WP3) aims to establish new understanding of human perception of non-audible sound as well as the metrology infrastructure necessary to put in place effective safety criteria. The second (WP4 & WP5) aims to improve the relevance of metrology in modern audiological practices, to bring about improved quality and reliability of results.

Workpackage 1 will develop new methods and technology for the determination of brain responses using magnetoencephalography (MEG) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to non-audible sound. New transducers appropriate for delivering and measuring the acoustic stimuli will also be developed.

Workpackage 2 will develop new measurement methods and calibration techniques for non-audible sound, including a new primary standard for airborne ultrasound, thereby providing traceability for noise measurement in this part of the frequency range

Workpackage 3 will compare brain response measurement and hearing thresholds which will generate new understanding of the perception mechanisms and underpin the determination of safe exposure limits for non-audible sound. 

Workpackage 4 will follow a process of user requirement, specification, modelling, design and production of a new prototype universal ear simulator

Workpackage 5 will develop new calibration methods and determine reference equivalent threshold sound pressure level values for the universal ear simulator. A selection of clinical users will then be engaged to evaluate the new device in audiological practice and provide valuable feedback on usability, and the standardization process will be initiated.

Workpackage 6 contains a variety of mechanisms for creating maximum impact, using existing and new contacts with medical and industrial stakeholders, policy formulators, standardization and regulatory bodies, and the wider scientific community.

Workpackage 7 describes the management of the project. 

These workpackages indicate the scale and multi-disciplinary nature of the work and the range of specialised facilities needed, and it is clear that no individual NMI would be capable of delivering this research alone. The consortium brings together the key skills (medical imaging, modelling, calibration etc.) and major facilities (fMRI and MEG scanners, free-field chambers, sensor & instrumentation fabrication) necessary to successfully deliver this work to address the global challenges outlined above.