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Press Release

Press release

Potential treatment for hearing problem wins HRB prize at BT Young Scientists competition

13 January 2009

Students from Ursuline College in Sligo have won the Health Research Board Special prize at the 2009 BT Young Scientist competition. Niamh Chapman, Eimear O'Carroll and Rhona Togher discovered some sounds that soothe Tinnitus - a ringing noise in the ears which often follows after being exposed to loud noises. Their project also earned them second place overall in the competition for a group project.

Their project called 'Sound of Silence' found that certain low frequency sounds can relieve tinnitus and give patients significantly improved hearing. 

'We downloaded a low frequency sound generator programme from the internet, bought a set of headphones, then played potentially therapeutic sounds to people over the headphones from a laptop computer. By measuring volunteers hearing before and afterwards, we could compare results and see what sound frequencies brought the most improvement in different people', explained Niamh Chapman.

Commenting on the achievement, Health Research Board CEO Enda Connolly said; 
'The Health Research Board special prize celebrates research that has a real impact on improving people's health. The fact that the girls actually came up with a potential new treatment is a real achievement.  Their project also shows that health research is not just about biology and medicine, but that subjects like physics and technology also have a lead role in health solutions.  I hope the girls go on to great research careers in their own right and that they might inspire others to apply their research to improving people's health'.  

A high quality photo of the girls receiving their award is available on request.

For more information contact:
Gillian Markey, Communications Manager
Health Research Board
m 00353 87 2288514
t 00353 1 2345103
e gmarkey(at)hrb.ie

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