Prosem Lecture: Individual Differences in ‘Cocktail-Party Listening’

Apr. 17, 2017
12:00 PM – 1:00 PM
B62 Goodnight Hall

Topic: Individual Differences in ‘Cocktail-Party Listening’
Presenter: Bob Lutfi, PhD, Professor, Communication Sciences and Disorders, UW-Madison

One unavoidable conclusion to be drawn from decades of research on hearing is that real differences remain after training in the ability of normal-hearing listeners to perform complex auditory tasks. Nowhere is this more evident than in studies of ‘cocktail-party listening’ - a metaphor for everyday listening where multiple sound sources compete for one’s attention. Until recently, such differences were attributed to deficits in non-auditory processes; working memory, selective attention or cognition. This view seems now to be changing. In the past decade, evidence has accumulated from animal studies for a type of synaptopathology that can go undetected by standard audiometric evaluation and that specifically affects one’s ability to hear out individual sound sources in a background of noise. In this talk, I will review behavioral data collected in my lab consistent with the view of widespread synaptopathology across otherwise normal-hearing individuals.