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Prosem Lecture: Restoring Bilateral Hearing to Children and Adults: Spatial Hearing in Complex Listening Environments and Listening Effort
September 20, 2021 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Presenter: Ruth Y. Litovsky, PhD, Professor and Chair, Communication Sciences & Disorders; Director, Binaural Hearing and Speech Lab, Waisman Center
Topic: Restoring Bilateral Hearing to Children and Adults: Spatial Hearing in Complex Listening Environments and Listening Effort
Our lab studies children and adults who are profoundly deaf in one or both ears. Treatment options include bilateral cochlear implants (BiCI). In addition, adults with single-sided deafness are receiving a CI in the deaf ear (SSD-CI) at an increasing rate. Bilateral hearing typically improves localization of sounds and segregation of speech from background noise compared with unilateral hearing. However, patients typically perform worse than normal hearing listeners. We use several approaches to understand mechanisms driving gaps in performance. We assess their ability to process auditory cues that are most essential for spatial hearing, and the role of age and auditory experience. We also use research processors to test novel stimulation paradigms designed to restore binaural sensitivity and speech understanding in noise. Our studies provide evidence for the role of auditory plasticity in driving binaural hearing. In addition, pupillometry studies provide insight into the impact of integrating inputs from two ears, whereby in some instances improved performance with two ears can be “costly” in the listening effort domain.
Acknowledgements: The work was conducted in collaboration with Lukas Suveg, Emily Burg, Tanvi Thakkar, Shelly Godar, Ellen Peng, Alan Kan and Dan Lee.
Work funded by NIH-NIDCD (R03DC015321 to AK and R01DC003083 to RYL), and NIH-NICHD (U54HD09256 to Waisman Center).