A FAIRFORD student is one of the lucky few in the country to be awarded a summer research grant to boost the number of hearing loss scientists.

Thomas Hallam, 20, is just one of 14 to be awarded the grant of £1,600 funded by Action of Hearing Loss as part of the Summer Studentship Scheme.

The scheme was set up by the charity to increase the number of hearing loss scientists who could one day find a cure for deafness. The best study wins a prize, which will be announced this autumn.

A former Farmor's School pupil, Thomas now studies biomedical science at the University of Southampton. His project will study immune cells of mice with age related hearing loss.

"I find neuroscience fascinating and my teacher at Farmor's really helped me to nurture my talents," Thomas said. "I'm hoping my research will give us a better understanding of hearing loss so we can find a cure in the future."

Head of biomedical research at Action on Hearing Loss Dr Ralph Holme said: "As the only charity dedicated to hearing loss research, one of our key aims is to increase the number of talented researchers working towards better treatments, devices and ultimately a cure."

The number of people across the UK who are affected by hearing loss is expected to rise by 50 per cent in the next two decades, putting it in the UK’s top 10 conditions above cataracts and diabetes.