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4 October 2023


Listening effectively in multi-talker environments


Associate Professor Kerry WalkerMr James RamsdenProfessor Andrew King and Professor Gaia Scerif

Joel Ward

Ma (Hons), BmBCH (Oxon), MRCS RCSEd, MRCS (ENT) RCSEd

DPhil student

  • Lecturer in Medicine and Surgery, St Catherine’s College

Research project 

One in five adults suffer from hearing loss - a disabling condition that limits our ability to communicate. Standard hearing aids often fail to help people follow conversations, especially in noisy settings. The brain of a healthy person is able to focus on one voice in a busy room using the voice’s tonal quality, or “pitch”. 

Joel’s research uses behavioural and neurophysiological techniques to examine the neural mechanisms of this. He also studies how these brain processes change across our life and with hearing loss. Understanding these processes will help improve hearing aid technologies. It will also guide new tests and treatments for hearing loss.


Joel is an ENT specialist registrar undertaking a DPhil in Surgical Sciences at NDS. He studied Medicine at University of Oxford, during which he authored an extended essay on how the brain interprets environments with many different sound sources; and how it can go wrong. Exploring this led to his appointment as an NIHR Academic Clinical Fellow in ENT. 

During his medical training, he undertook a number of collaborative and translational surgical research projects, including with the OxAAA group, which has influenced his current research interests. He was also a founding member of the Journal of the Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences.

Joel’s research is supported by a Medical Science Divisional Studentship, RCS England Surgical Research Fellowship and funds from the Oxfordshire Health Research Committee. 

He is a Lecturer in Medicine and Surgery at St Catherine’s College and enjoys running in his (elusive) spare time.