The long-term aim is a better understanding of the auditory processes that enable hearing in background noise, and the effect of early hearing loss on those processes.
Aim 1 will investigate the hypothesis that the development of the ability to integrate spectro-temporal glimpses of speech in noise has a protracted development in normal-hearing children, and that such development is even more protracted in children who have long histories of recurrent otitis media with effusion (OME).
Aim 2 investigates the relatively novel perspective that hearing loss is associated not only with delays in development and the attenuation of auditory cues, but may also be accompanied by adaptations in auditory processing that enable efficient use of available remaining information. This will be examined both in patients having OME and patients who have severely sloping sensorineural hearing losses.
Aim 3 investigates the processing of binaural and monaural acoustical information in patients having severe, unilateral conductive hearing losses. The binaural experiments are aimed at testing how a long history of unilateral hearing loss affects the ability of the brain to analyze and weight information from the two ears. The monaural experiments will investigate whether relatively complex monaural processing is impaired in the ear having history of conductive hearing loss. In patients receiving hearing loss intervention, the binaural and monaural abilities will be tracked longitudinally to determine whether experience results in changes in the ability of the auditory system to weight and analyze information from the two ears. Psychoacoustic studies will use standard, adaptive testing techniques, and speech studies will use a combination of adaptive and fixed block methods. All phases of the project will include age-matched control listeners. Data will be analyzed using analysis of variance and descriptive statistical procedures. There are two ways in which the proposed work relates to public health: 1) the data from the studies on hearing loss will provide information about the effect of early hearing loss on the development of auditory perception;2) the studies on hearing abilities in normal-hearing children and adults will provide information about human abilities to hear signals in noise, the most common problem experienced by patients having hearing losses.

Public Health Relevance

The proposed work is relevant to public health in that it investigates the effects of conductive and sensorineural hearing loss on the ability to process speech and other complex sounds in the presence of competing noise. Psychoacoustic and speech perception approaches will be used to determine hearing abilities in listeners with hearing loss and to determine whether the derived data can be used to predict outcomes in cases where implantable hearing aids are used in order to provide binaural information to the auditory system. The results will advance our basic understanding of the development of hearing in normal-hearing listeners and in hearing- impaired patients.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)
Research Project (R01)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-IFCN-B (02))
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Donahue, Amy
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University of North Carolina Chapel Hill
Schools of Medicine
Chapel Hill
United States
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Hall 3rd, Joseph W; Buss, Emily; Grose, John H (2014) Development of speech glimpsing in synchronously and asynchronously modulated noise. J Acoust Soc Am 135:3594-600
Buss, Emily; Hall 3rd, Joseph W; Porter, Heather et al. (2014) Gap detection in school-age children and adults: effects of inherent envelope modulation and the availability of cues across frequency. J Speech Lang Hear Res 57:1098-107
Buss, Emily; He, Shuman; Grose, John H et al. (2013) The monaural temporal window based on masking period pattern data in school-aged children and adults. J Acoust Soc Am 133:1586-97
Buss, Emily; Hall 3rd, Joseph W; Grose, John H (2013) Factors affecting the processing of intensity in school-aged children. J Speech Lang Hear Res 56:71-80
Buss, Emily; Hall Iii, Joseph W (2011) Effects of non-simultaneous masking on the binaural masking level difference. J Acoust Soc Am 129:907-19
Hall 3rd, Joseph W; Buss, Emily; Grose, John H (2011) Exploring the additivity of binaural and monaural masking release. J Acoust Soc Am 129:2080-7
He, Shuman; Buss, Emily; Hall 3rd, Joseph W (2010) Monaural temporal integration and temporally selective listening in children and adults. J Acoust Soc Am 127:3643-53
Mlot, Stefan; Buss, Emily; Hall 3rd, Joseph W (2010) Spectral integration and bandwidth effects on speech recognition in school-aged children and adults. Ear Hear 31:56-62
Buss, Emily; Hall 3rd, Joseph W; Grose, John H (2009) Psychometric functions for pure tone intensity discrimination: slope differences in school-aged children and adults. J Acoust Soc Am 125:1050-8
Eapen, Rose J; Buss, Emily; Grose, John H et al. (2008) The development of frequency weighting for speech in children with a history of otitis media with effusion. Ear Hear 29:718-24

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