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Hearing loss affects over 1/2 of Canadians over 65 years of age. Remarkably, however, hearing aid adoption rates have remained stable and very low (20-25%) over the past 25 years. This is particularly surprising given the significant, concomitant advancements in hearing aid technologies within the same timeframe. In attempting to identify the causes of dissatisfaction with current hearing aid devices, hearing aid companies are now beginning to appreciate that the effects of hearing loss may extend beyond communication deficits to other critical aspects of quality of life, such as mobility. Studies are being performed at Toronto Rehab’s Challenging Environment Assessment Laboratory (CEAL) to carefully evaluate the relationship between hearing and balance in younger and older adults (with and without hearing loss) in realistic, multisensory, Virtual Reality environments. These studies will also evaluate the effects of different types of existing state-of-the-art hearing aid technologies on measures of gait and balance in older adults with hearing loss and use this knowledge to inform the development and testing of an entirely novel directional hearing aid device currently being designed. This internship will tie into this research by improving the virtual reality environments being employed.

Faculty Supervisor:

Dr. Eugene Fiume


Ani Tumanyan


University Health Network - Toronto Rehabilitation Institute


Computer science


Digital media


University of Toronto



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