Westfield donation aids deafness study
A specialist piece of equipment to be used for a deafness project has been purchased thanks to a donation by Westfield Health.
Deafness Research UK, which is funding the study by the University of Sheffield, wrote to Westfield to ask for help in purchasing an electrophysiological microscope, which is essential to kick-start the research.
Westfield donated more than £9,000, which will now facilitate investigation into the properties of inner ear hair cells, giving new insight into how to help those with hearing difficulties to lead a better quality of life.Â
Dr Walter Marcotti, who is leading the project at the University of Sheffield, said: "We are so grateful to Westfield for donating the funds to buy this highly specialised microscope - an upright Olympus BX51.
"Deafness is the World's second most common disability. The aim of the project is to investigate whether an important physiological property of inner ear cells differs depending on their location in the cochlea. It will give us new knowledge of how sound is passed to the brain.
"This will be significant, as deafness strikes at the heart of our ability to communicate. Having a form of hearing loss can cut people off from friends, family and colleagues, leading to a person feeling isolated and often depressed."
Almost nine million people in the UK are affected by hearing loss, with 80 per cent of hearing loss being caused by the gradual loss of sensory hair cells.
Graham Moore, Chairman of Westfield Health, said: "Westfield is delighted to donate the funds to help kick-start this project.
"Deafness can really affect a person's wellbeing. Hopefully, this study will provide the knowledge that will help to improve the quality of life of those suffering from hearing difficulties."