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Marc Brennan, Project 4

Project 4 is directed by Marc Brennan. This 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.

While research in this area regarding adults exists, we do not yet fully understand the impact this experience may have on children. This study aims to test a child’s temporal resolution, also known as their ability to hear small changes in sound over a short duration (e.g. in milliseconds). Being able to hear these small changes are important for developing speech and language. Project 4 will also examine if hearing aids help a child with hearing loss to detect these small changes and if we can modify hearing aids to improve the ability of a child with hearing loss to hear these sounds. Without this information, it’s difficult to help children with hearing loss improve their speech, language and educational outcomes.

This project has two sets of experiments:

Experiment 1:

To test the hypothesis that children with hearing loss will show poorer temporal resolution than children with normal hearing. The development of temporal resolution is poorly understood for children with hearing loss. The work under this aim will provide a better understanding of temporal resolution in children with hearing loss and the factors that support the development of temporal resolution in children.

Experiment 2:

To test the hypothesis that hearing-aid settings can be manipulated to improve temporal resolution and speech recognition for children with hearing loss. Information regarding how temporal resolution can be improved for children will be explored hopefully leading to a better understanding of the ability of amplification to affect temporal resolution in children with hearing loss.

The results from this research will help to maximize the abilities of children who wear hearing aids.