Dr Sami Azam is a lecturer in Engineering in CDU’s School of Engineering and Information Technology. He is originally from Bangladesh.
Dr Sami Azam has worked to improve the understanding of the connection between the ears and brain, to assist with the detection of hearing disorders caused by a common ear infection found in children the world over.
“Previous research has shown that otitis media or middle ear infection is a common disease in childhood that can adversely affect the ability to hear normally,” said Dr Azam. “It indicates that high rates of otitis media have been found in Aboriginal children. If untreated, this may lead to long-lasting conductive hearing loss and impaired speech and cognitive function.”
With a background in electrical engineering and computer programming, branching into a PhD in biomedical engineering was a natural fit for Dr Azam. His PhD, entitled “Detection of binaural processing in the human brain,” investigated a novel hearing test method.
“Binaural hearing is the ability to combine information from both ears to detect a sound source or to distinguish a sound from background noise. It may be impaired in people who have suffered from prolonged hearing loss as children, for example due to otitis media,” Dr Azam said.
Dr Azam analysed responses of normal hearing subjects to repeated auditory stimuli to find out how the brain responded.
“We found a particular frequency range of the brain’s response may be used as a marker for binaural processing in the brain,” said Dr Azam. “This means that we now have a marker to lead us towards an effective way to quantify a person’s binaural hearing.”
Through his research, Dr Azam hopes to provide an objective approach to testing, alongside currently available hearing tests for young children.