The Department funds research mainly through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). The usual practice of the NIHR and other research funders is not to ring-fence funds for expenditure on particular topics. The NIHR welcomes funding applications for research into any aspect of human health, including hearing aid technology.
In 2017-18 the NIHR was supporting four studies related to hearing aid technology and improving the use of hearing aids through its research infrastructure in the National Health Service. Between 2017 and 2019, the NIHR Clinical Research Network supported eight clinical studies related to hearing aid technology.
The NIHR funds three Biomedical Research Centres (BRCs) which have research themes related to hearing loss, deafness and hearing health. The total NIHR investment in these three BRC research themes over the five years from 1 April 2017 is £10.9 million. This includes the Manchester BRC that has established the United Kingdom’s only Hearing Device Research Centre to drive innovation in interventions for hearing loss and to accelerate the translation of new hearing technologies into the NHS.