Health Technologies USRG EPSRC Summer Bursaries 2014
July 1, 2014
by Thomas Hardman
Tommy Hardman – ‘Fast and objective detection of auditory evoked potentials using statistical tests’
I’ve recently finished my second year on the MEng Acoustical Engineering programme. I have an interest in the biomedical side of engineering and more specifically in its applications in signal processing. I’ve been lucky enough to be working on a research project with David Simpson this summer involving the assessment of hearing without the use of voluntary responses by the patient.
Auditory Evoked Potentials are a means of objective hearing assessment. This is based on the analysis of EEG (electroencephalogram) signals obtained during repeated stimulation. A major application of this technique is in the assessment of hearing in new-born babies. The conventional method in the assessment of hearing involves visual and subjective interpretation of auditory evoked potentials. This requires trained specialists and suffers from large inter-rate variability. Two alternative objective methods will be considered. The first being a bootstrap statistical method that focuses on the clinically most relevant feature of the signal and the second by using sequential testing, such that the analysis can be stopped if a significant response is detected (without sacrificing false positive rates). These methods aim to increase sensitivity whilst increasing the speed of analysis and hence removing the reliance on subjective testing.
My individual project next year is also of a biomedical theme, titled: Modelling Blood Flow, Metabolite and Drug Transport within Tumour Capillaries. I look forward to exploring a whole new side of biomedical research, enforcing the importance of signal processing and mathematical modeling in this exciting field.