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Gareth Smith,
MSc, AuD,
Consultant Clinical Scientist (Audiology),
Southend University Hospital, UK. 


Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the Starship Audiology. Its ongoing mission: to explore strange new research. To seek out new articles and new technology.

To boldly go where no one has gone before!



Captain’s log: November/December 2021

We have arrived at Earth, third planet from the sun in this solar system. It is a planet of extremes, temperatures as low as -67.7ºC to as high as 56.7ºC, Ocean depth can reach almost 11km and mountains reach nearly 9km above sea level. Whilst the earth offers some extreme, uncharted environments, the humans have also taken to the space surrounding the planet. Orbiting the earth is a manned space station carrying out experiments in the hostile vastness.

We have observed, since arrival, the humans pushing themselves to the limits and monitoring the body’s reactions. For example, flight. Hee-Young Kim from the Republic of Korea has been considering the impact of extreme pressure variations on dizziness. Whilst the oceans are vast on earth, human activity has a detrimental impact on the activities of the animals the humans share this space with. Dorian Houser, California, USA, has a great deal of understanding to share on the impact of noise on the sea-mammal population. Of the International Space Station; they appear to be learning much about the effects of space – may be so they are better prepared to venture further than their current limits. Lilian Felipe, Texas, USA, is working with NASA to look at the effects of microgravity, with Robert Marchbanks, UK, looking at tympanic membrane displacement and considering how an understanding of this supports treatments on Earth. They have even adapted an audiometer to carry out hearing experiments on astronauts; this work has been carried out by a team at Kuduwave in South Africa.  

I have discussed these findings with Chief Medical Officer, Dr Leonard ‘Bones’ McCoy. He cannot understand why they haven’t just waved the pen-wandy medical scanner around and popped them into the lighty-tubey thing in sick-bay for 10 minutes. Spock agrees it is highly illogical.

To quote Captain Picard, “Things are only impossible until they’re not” and the more we explore the edges of existence, the more possibilities we find.

Captain Smith, Starship Audiology.

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Gareth Smith

MSc, AuD, Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust, UK.

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