Auditory Perception in ChildrenMarc Brennan, Ph.D., CCC-AAudiologist, Director of Amplification and Perception Lab
In this study we are looking really at the ability of children to understand to hear out really basic sounds that are important for understanding speech. An example of that would be a consonant like the “puh” sound which you close your mouth in order to make that sound and that creates a silent interval that is really important in hearing the sound out. We are just investigating how kids with hearing loss are able to hear that and more importantly we are looking at how hearing aids might affect your ability to hear those sounds.
We have these noises that we are playing and they sound just like the static noises on a radio station and then what we do is we put a silent interval in that noise and we ask them to listen for that and then they have to indicate when they heard that.
We are varying how big that noise is and people with hearing loss, adults we know require a bigger duration for them to hear that sound. What we don’t know is how well kids can hear that and especially how well kids with hearing loss hear that, yet we know that being able to do that is important for them to understand speech.
We’ve been testing kids that are, the youngest we’ve gone is six years of age and then we’ll go up to eighteen. We are also including adults in this, so we are really spanning the whole range but we aren’t testing the really young ones.
The ultimate long term goal is to be able to help these kids with hearing loss to be able to hear the sounds and speeds that are important to them so that they can be best set up to understand speech and achieve academic and social success and all of that. There aren’t a lot of studies that are done with kids that wear hearing aids and so I think this is really important piece of that work.
This research project aims to understand why children with hearing loss have poorer speech recognition than children with normal hearing. This poorer speech recognition occurs even when provided with hearing aids that fit with current guidelines. This is important work as early childhood auditory experiences are vital to development.