A major factor contributing to the poor speech and language outcomes of children with hearing loss may be related to a reduced ability to resolve temporal features of the stimulus. Auditory temporal resolution refers to the ability to perceive changes in acoustic stimuli overtime. The long-term goal of this program of research is to understand how the factors that influence the development of temporal resolution in children with hearing loss can be manipulated for therapeutic purposes. Towards this goal.
Aim 1 will test the hypothesis that children with greater auditory exposure show less delay in the development of temporal resolution. Thresholds will be obtained for different measures of temporal resolution. These thresholds will be compared between two groups of children (hearing loss, normal hearing) and across age in a series of cross-sectional experiments. The work under Aim 1 will provide a better understanding of temporal resolution in children with hearing loss and the degree to which a child's auditory experience supports their temporal resolution.
Aim 2 will test the hypothesis that hearing-aid gain and compression speed can be manipulated to improve temporal resolution for children with hearing loss. Hearing loss can result in reduced temporal resolution due to loss of audibility and the normal compressive function of the cochlea. We lack information regarding the extent to which we can improve temporal resolution for children with hearing loss by manipulating the gain and compression speed provided by amplification. This contribution is expected to be significant because it is the first step in a continuum of research that is expected to lead to the development of habilitative strategies that will, for example, allow for targeted interventions that mitigate the risks associated with factors that contribute to suboptimal temporal resolution (Aim 1) and allow for the specification of hearing-aid compression speed that optimize temporal resolution (Aim 2) for children with hearing loss.

Public Health Relevance

This project examines the influence of auditory experience and hearing-aid amplification on temporal resolution in children with hearing loss. This proposal is relevant to public health and the mission of the NIH because these results will help optimize hearing-aid amplification, which in turn is expected to diminish the negative effect of hearing loss on speech recognition.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Exploratory Grants (P20)
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Father Flanagan's Boys'Home
Boys Town
United States
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Smith, Nicholas A; Joshi, Suyash (2014) Neural correlates of auditory stream segregation: an analysis of onset- and change-related responses. J Acoust Soc Am 136:EL295-301
Lewis, Dawna E; Manninen, Crystal M; Valente, Daniel L et al. (2014) Children's understanding of instructions presented in noise and reverberation. Am J Audiol 23:326-36