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Dr Robert C MacKinnon

Deputy Head of School - Psychology and Sport Science
Faculty of Science and Engineering
Vision and Hearing Sciences
Areas of Expertise:
Health, social care and medical innovation

Dr Robert C MacKinnon is Deputy Head of School for Psychology and Sport Science. He is HCPC-registered as both a Clinical Scientist in Audiology and as a Hearing Aid Dispenser. His research interests focus on music-induced and noise-induced hearing loss, vestibular pathologies and hearing screening (including remote healthcare).

[email protected]


Robert’s undergraduate studies for his BA Hons (Cantab.) in Natural Sciences at the University of Cambridge gave him a broad scientific background. He specialised in Neuroscience in his final year and his undergraduate project was performed in Professor Brian Moore’s lab. This focused on cochlear implant simulation and was subsequently published.

Robert completed his PhD in Otorhinolaryngology at the University of Nottingham. He worked in the National Institute for Health Research Nottingham Hearing Biomedical Research Unit (now Biomedical Research Centre). His project focused on the long-term effects of recreational music listening, and used a novel questionnaire and hearing test to test hundreds of participants online over the internet.

Robert trained clinically as a HCPC-registered Clinical Scientist in Audiology at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, with an associated MSc (Merit) in Clinical Science (Neurosensory) from the University of Manchester. This allows him to practice not only as an Audiologist but also in more complex clinics as a Clinical Scientist, with experience in paediatric, vestibular, complex adult, and single sided clinics among other specialist as well as routine clinics. Robert is also a HCPC-registered Hearing Aid Dispenser.

Robert is a member of the Vision and Hearing Sciences Research Group.

Research interests
  • Music-induced and noise-induced hearing loss
  • Remote healthcare and hearing screening
  • Vestibular disorders and rehabilitation (dizziness and balance)
  • Speech-in-noise testing

Robert's research interests focus on translational & clinical research and include noise- and music-induced hearing loss, vestibular disorders & rehabilitation, speech-in-noise testing, remote healthcare & hearing screening, applied machine learning, tinnitus and hyperacusis. He also has experience with questionnaire design and survey methodology, as well as a good background knowledge of neuroimaging, physiology and neuroscience.

  • Uni Cert Hearing Care Assistant
  • Hearing Aid Audiology – FdSc
  • Hearing Sciences (Top-Up) - BSc (Hons)
  • Audiology (Top-Up) - BSc (Hons)
  • PhD Otorhinolaryngology, University of Nottingham
  • MSc (Merit) Clinical Science (Neurosensory), University of Manchester
  • BA Hons. (Cantab.) Natural Sciences, University of Cambridge
  • PG Cert Learning and Teaching (Higher Education), Anglia Ruskin University
Memberships, editorial boards

Fellow, Higher Education Academy

Research grants, consultancy, knowledge exchange

2014-2019 – £344,939.00 - Co-applicant & Co-investigator.
Research for Patient Benefit (RfPB) Grant (PB-PG-0213-30055, 2014-2019).
“An evaluation of the High Frequency Digit Triplet Test as a screening tool for early detection of hearing loss in individuals with cystic fibrosis.”
Smyth, A., Nash, E., Fortnum, H., Clarke, J., Dewar, J., Ferguson, M., MacKinnon, R.C., Edmondson-Jones, M., Mehta, R., Elliott, Z.

Selected recent publications

Moore, D.R., Zobay, O., MacKinnon, R.C., Whitmer, W.M. and Akeroyd, M.A. (in preparation) Limited effects of leisure music listening on speech hearing. TBA

MacKinnon, R.C., Cooke, A., Allen, P.M. (in preparation) Investigating the risk to hearing posed by personal music players. TBA

McKearney, R.M. and MacKinnon, R.C., (2019). Objective auditory brainstem response classification using machine learning. International Journal of Audiology, 58(4), pp.224-230.

McKearney, R.M., MacKinnon, R.C., Smith, M. and Baker, R. (2018) Assessing the Quality of Internet Information on Tinnitus – A Review Using Standardised Tools. Journal of Laryngology and Otology, 24, pp.1-6.

Moore, D.R., Zobay, O., MacKinnon, R.C., Whitmer, W.M. and Akeroyd, M.A., (2016). Lifetime leisure music exposure associated with increased frequency of tinnitus. Hearing Research, 347, pp.18-27.

Vlaming, M. S., MacKinnon, R. C., Jansen, M., & Moore, D. R. (2014). Automated screening for high-frequency hearing loss. Ear and hearing, 35(6), 667-679.

Stone, M. A., Füllgrabe, C., MacKinnon, R. C., & Moore, B. C. J. (2011). The importance for speech intelligibility of random fluctuations in “steady” background noise. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 130(5), pp.2874-2881.