Hamish Innes-Brown

Principal Scientist
As a Principal Scientist, Hamish hopes that his work will have some impact, in science or with people. It can be in relation to mentoring people, as a feature in a hearing aid, or perhaps in changing the way hearing aids are used.   

What is your primary work area within Eriksholm Research Centre? 

I am a scientist and I primarily operate within the Eriksholm focus areas of Personalized audiology and Cognitive hearing effort compensation. I am interested in learning about how the functionality of our brain can affect our hearing and, the other way around, how improved knowledge of the brain can lead to improving the way hearing aids work. 

What originally triggered your interest in the hearing care field?

I have always been interested in sound and music. I played cello a lot when I was young, and it fascinated my how you can literally see the strings vibrate and move with the sound. It sparked my interest in learning more about how hearing and the brain works. I went down a more science than engineering path and I ended up witha bachelor’s degree in cognitive science and a PhD in cognitive neuroscience. I was also interested in people, and eventually, my interest steered me in the direction of medical research related to hearing. 

What brought you to Eriksholm?

Without a doubt, it was the opportunity for me to work in an applied setting. I used to work at the Bionics Institute in Melbourne. I worked on impactful projects with great people who I still count among my best colleagues and friends, However I wanted to see my work become more tangible. Over several years I met employees from different parts of Oticon and learned about Eriksholm. One day an opportunity occurred to get a scientist position there. I applied, got the position, and moved to Denmark.

What motivates you in your job?

My own work doesn’t end up in a hearing device every year, but I am part of building knowledge that does. I collaborate with colleagues who are close to implementation, and who influence the experience people with hearing impairment have with sound, all of that motivates me a lot. I’m also motivated by the people from all the different areas of the business. I am continually impressed by how sharp and committed everyone is in this company. You are literally surrounded by knowledge, and you have direct access to all of it. Discovering things motivates me in general, but I really enjoy going to headquarters and meeting with colleagues who have the same overall mission, but have totally different experience and skills. Seeing all the things people do, for instance in quality and marketing, it is amazing. 

What do you hope to achieve in the long run?

I really do hope that some of my work will have some impact somewhere, in science or with people. It can be in relation to mentoring people, as a feature in a hearing aid, or perhaps in changing the way hearing aids are used.   

What do you do in your spare time when you’re not working at Eriksholm?

Well, as a younger family with two very active boys, most of my spare time is all about keeping the ship afloat. I don’t really spend time on any hobbies at the moment, but since we have only lived in Denmark for about four years, we try to spend as much time as possible exploring all the corners of Denmark, so our family is often on the move somewhere. 

What is the most exciting scientific breakthrough or invention in your time?

To me, that is the increase in scientific collaboration. The body of scientific knowledge gets bigger, more complex and more intertwined hour by hour. That is exciting, and it means it is becoming more and more difficult to achieve anything all by yourself, and it almost impossible to catch up with where any given scientific field is at. If you need to solve multidisciplinary problems, you literally cannot do that alone any longer. You need to have teams working on individual research questions. The great thing about all of this is, that this development is an indication of the continuously increasing pace of scientific progress. That is exciting!

What do you hope will happen in future science?

I really hope that the credibility of science is maintained. Lately, we have experience an increase in anti-science movements, for example during the COVID-19 pandemic where a variety of conspiracy theories emerged. I do hope we will see less of such politicization of science in future.
If you want to know more about Hamish Innes-Brown’s work, take a look at his profile on  Google scholar or LinkedIn.