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Prosem Lecture: A Neural Outlook to Auditory (Re)habilitation in Children with Hearing Loss
October 7, 2019 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Presenter: Viji Easwar, PhD, Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders & Waisman Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Topic: A Neural Outlook to Auditory (Re)habilitation in Children with Hearing Loss
Up to three in 1000 children are born with hearing loss and an additional two to three develop hearing loss during childhood. Current approaches in early detection and intervention have been instrumental in reducing the gap in communication abilities of children with hearing loss relative to their peers with normal hearing. Despite these significant strides, performance gaps and the large variability in the communication abilities of children with hearing loss remain a major concern. One approach that could facilitate reducing the performance gap is using neural correlates of speech processing to guide intervention. Using neural correlates of speech processing could not only help isolate underpinnings of deviant behavior but may also help identify deviances earlier than behavioral approaches. To this end, we have developed a clinically feasible, hearing device-conducive, speech-evoked electroencephalography (EEG) technique that can evaluate intervention benefit objectively in a frequency-specific manner. In this talk, I will describe (i) the efforts taken so far to evaluate the benefit and feasibility of the novel technique, and (ii) the frequency-specific developmental aspects of speech encoding the technique has revealed in children with normal hearing. Lastly, I will summarize planned efforts to probe the consequence of hearing loss during development on speech processing.