The objective of this research project is to assess how 7 hours of auditory training in various listening conditions (interrupted noise, continuous noise, quiet) can benefit speech perception in noise for children with moderate-to-severe hearing loss. Previous research with adults has demonstrated significant improvements in speech perception following auditory training in noise. Furthermore, psychoacoustic studies indicate that normal-hearing individuals may use glimpsing strategies to perceive speech in noise. It has been widely documented that speech perception in noisy environments is extremely difficult for children with hearing loss because they are unable to process information in spectral and temporal regions where the signal-to-noise ratio becomes more favorable, i.e. to gain information through glimpsing.
The first aim of this study is to determine the performance-intensity function for sentence recognition in interrupted noise, continuous noise, quiet. Results from this experiment with 20 children, ages 6-16, with moderate-to-severe hearing loss will be used in the next phase, auditory training, to establish relatively equal levels of complexity across listening conditions.
The second aim i s to compare sentence recognition in noise pre- vs. immediately-post short-term auditory training in one of the following conditions: interrupted noise, continuous noise, and quiet. Thirty children, ages 6-16, with moderate-to-severe hearing impairment will be equally divided among the three training conditions for sentence identification which vary by type/level of noise and memory load.
The third aim i s to compare sentence recognition in noise pre- vs. 3-months post short-term computerized auditory training. According to perceptual learning studies there are different time courses for improvement following training which are dependent on the difficulty of the task and duration of training. Based on the previous research, it is predicted that the interrupted-noise condition may provide the most improvement because of the development of glimpsing strategies. An important strength of this study is the examination of immediate and long-term benefits of auditory training in interrupted noise, continuous noise, and quiet. Furthermore, this study will help clarify which processes are most beneficial to improving speech perception in noise for children with hearing loss. Thus, auditory training methods and materials could be improved to provide optimal habilitation and speech perception in noise for children with hearing impairment. Because computers are a commonly used in school and homes, computer-based auditory training is a logical method of providing habilitation services for children with hearing impairments.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)
Predoctoral Individual National Research Service Award (F31)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-HOP-T (29))
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Cyr, Janet
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University of Texas-Dallas
Other Health Professions
Other Domestic Higher Education
United States
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Sullivan, Jessica R; Assmann, Peter F; Hossain, Shaikat et al. (2017) Voice gender and the segregation of competing talkers: Perceptual learning in cochlear implant simulations. J Acoust Soc Am 141:1643
Sullivan, Jessica R; Thibodeau, Linda M; Assmann, Peter F (2013) Auditory training of speech recognition with interrupted and continuous noise maskers by children with hearing impairment. J Acoust Soc Am 133:495-501