Volunteering For Research
The intake appointment
The intake appointment is a chance for you to get to know the NAL audiologists and for us to learn more about you. During the appointment, we will ask questions about your hearing loss and, if applicable, your hearing aid(s), conduct a full audiological assessment, and answer any questions you may have about volunteering at NAL. If you have had a recent hearing test, you can either bring the results to the appointment or sign a form giving us permission to obtain the results from your hearing centre or clinic. You are also welcome to bring your spouse, partner, or friend to the appointment, but please note that we are unable to supervise young children during the appointment. Please allow one and a half (1½) hours for the intake appointment.
Note that whilst the audiologists at NAL have the same qualifications and training as the audiologists at your hearing centre or clinic, they are not able to offer audiological services beyond those that are required for the research study in which you are enrolled. Your NAL audiologist will be pleased to discuss any general concerns you may have about your hearing loss and/or your hearing aid(s), however, you will be encouraged to attend your local hearing centre or audiology clinic for the provision of professional services.
Your rights as a research volunteer
All research conducted by NAL must have the approval of a formally constituted Human Research Ethics Committee. As such, a number of mechanisms are in place to protect the rights of our research volunteers.
- Volunteers are free to decide whether to participate in a research study, and may withdraw from a study at any time for any reason. You will be given written information about the procedures involved in the study and your written consent must be obtained before the study commences. Please feel free to discuss any doubts or concerns about test procedures with your NAL audiologist as soon as they arise.
- Privacy of your personal information will be strictly observed. Outcomes of research studies are often published in scientific journals and/or presented at professional conferences, but will never include information that would allow you to be identified.
- Complaints or reservations about any ethical aspect of research may be reported to the secretary of the Ethics Committee, Dr Tim Gainsford, on 9412 6862. All complaints will be treated in confidence.
Your responsibilities as a research volunteer
Volunteers should carefully consider the time commitment involved when agreeing to participate in a research study, as withdrawal from a study before its conclusion may affect the progress of the research. The required schedule of appointments will be provided to you in writing prior to the commencement of the study.
Volunteers should try to attend appointments on time. Please advise your NAL audiologist by telephone or email if you are unable to attend a scheduled appointment.
How potential participants are contacted
For each study, we try to select groups of people who have a particular characteristic in common. As a result, you may be contacted to participate in a study shortly after volunteering with us, while others on our database may have to wait a year or more. While we do seek to reduce the number of variables that could affect the outcome of a study, we do not discriminate on the basis of age, gender, or ethnic origin.
Potential participants in a NAL research project are generally contacted by post. If you receive a letter from NAL, you are under no obligation to participate in the study. News of an upcoming study will always contain the following:
- A letter outlining the purpose of the study, the tasks involved, the required schedule of appointments, the estimated time commitment, and any gratuity that might be payable to you upon completion of the study
- A response form with three choices
- Yes, I would like to participate
- No, I am unable to participate in this study but would like to be considered in the future
- No, please remove my details from the database of research volunteers
- A postage-paid envelope in which you can return the response form to NAL
You are always welcome to telephone or email the audiologist in charge of the study for more information before deciding whether or not to participate. Additionally, you are always welcome to request that we do not contact you again for future studies. You do not need to supply a reason for this request.
Location of NAL and how to get there
NAL is located in the Australian Hearing Hub, 16 University Avenue, Macquarie University. Click here for a map of our location on the university campus and how to get there.
If you have decided that you would like to participate in research at NAL
Please contact Vivian Fabricatorian on 9412 6872 or via email at Volunteer@nal.gov.au to schedule your intake appointment. We look forward to seeing you at NAL!