Subarachnoid haemorrhage (SAH), a subtype of stroke, is a bleed on the surface of the brain. It has a high fatality rate (approximately 50%) and for those who survive it is often a life altering event. There is increasing recognition that, although people with a history of SAH look outwardly healthy, they have substantial “hidden” disability which impairs their daily functioning. Significant neuropsychological issues such as cognitive dysfunction, depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder are often reported by SAH survivors.
We have discovered that one fourth of patients after a specific type of brain haemorrhage, subarachnoid haemorrhage, have central auditory processing difficulty. The first study to demonstrate this, in our patients, has been published (https://doi.org/10.1002/acn3.714) and we have subsequently confirmed this finding in subarachnoid haemorrhage patients from the UK Biobank (manuscript submitted for publication). Unlike other forms of stroke, subarachnoid haemorrhage survivors are young and there is significant loss of economic productivity as a result.
Our plan now is to take the work forward as a prospective cross-sectional study of approximately 30-40 SAH patients and control individuals. Peripheral hearing and auditory processing abilities will be assessed by pure tone audiometry, acoustic immittance testing and speech-in-noise tests. Cognition will be assessed using the Montreal Cognitive Assessment and Addenbrookes Cognitive Examination. To assess health-related quality of life, the EQ-5D and Short Form-36 (SF-36) questionnaires will be used. We would also like to assess the use of assistive listening devices (ALD) in the management of APD in SAH survivors in a smaller subset within this group.
The project builds on a well-established partnership between Prof Nicci Campbell (Audiology) and Prof Ian Galea (Experimental Neurology/Medicine), including joint research, publications and conference presentations. You will be based at the Highfield Campus, University of Southampton but also working at Wessex Neurological Centre, Southampton General Hospital.