Sam Irving

Research Fellow, Bionics Institute

After graduating with a master’s degree in Neuroscience from the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST, UK), Dr Irving went on to carry out a PhD at the MRC Institute of Hearing Research in Nottingham, which he completed in 2008. His PhD thesis looked at the capacity for learning in the auditory system, with particular focus on auditory localisation and the role of the olivocochlear bundle, a ‘descending’ pathway from the brainstem to the hair cells of the cochlea. During this time, he was awarded the Pauline Ashley Prize from Deafness Research UK, which enabled him to travel to the Eaton Peabody Laboratory at Harvard/MIT to learn histological and immunohistochemical techniques under the guidance of Prof Charles Liberman. This work led to three publications, including one in the Journal of Neuroscience and a cover image of Hearing Research. Dr Irving then took up a short-term postdoctoral position at the University of Auckland, NZ, where his research contributed to the design of a novel tinnitus treatment.

Dr Irving has recently joined the Bionic Hearing research team at the Bionics Institute as a Research Fellow. His research aims to further our knowledge into the changes that happen in the inner ear and the brain during deafness and after cochlear implantation.

Research fields of Interest

  • Neural prostheses
  • Neural learning and plasticity
  • Neural effects of hearing loss
  • Tinnitus

Research Projects

  • The Bionic Ear and Brain Plasticity
  • Auditory neuron responses to electrical stimulation from a bionic ear


  1. S. Irving, D.R. Moore. (2011) “Training sound localisation in normal hearing listeners with and without a unilateral ear plug” Hear Res 280: 100-106
  2. S. Irving, D.R. Moore, M.C. Liberman, C.J. Sumner (2011). "Olivocochlear efferent control in sound localization and experience-dependent learning" J Neurosci 31: 2493-2501
  3. G. Coad, S. Irving & G.D. Searchfield (2010) “Performance and listener preference of four mobile phone-to-hearing aid interface units”. HINZ Vol 14(2)
  4. G.D. Searchfield, H. Cameron, S. Irving, K. Kobayashi (2010) “Sound therapies and instrumentation for tinnitus management”. NZMJ. Vol 123 No 1311.
  5. M. Edmondson-Jones, S. Irving, D. R. Moore, D.A. Hall (2010) “Planar localisation analyses: a novel application of a centre of mass approach”.  Hear Res. 267: 4-11