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Current Research Studies

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​All of these studies have been approved by the Boys Town National Research Hospital’s Institutional Review Board. These studies are currently enrolling participants.

Neurobehavioral Studies

  • Kids Helping Kids Study​

    We are currently seeking 10-18 year olds to participate in neurobehavioral research. Neurobehavioral research participation may include behavior observa​tion, brain imaging and psychological interviews. More information about this study.

  • Trauma Research Study​

    We are currently seeking children and adolescents age 14-17 who have experienced a traumatic event to participate in research studies. The study may include questionnaires, brain imaging, providing saliva samples and playing computer games. Participants will be compensated for time up to $50 per visit. More information about this study.

Hearing Studies

  • Noise Exposure and Hearing Problems

    We are seeking adults who have spent time in loud noise environments to participate in a research study to help us develop tests to identify hearing loss caused by loud noise expo​sure. Research has shown that loud noise exposure can damage parts of the ear that respond to moderate and loud level sounds. This damage may cause problems with understanding speech in a background noise, such as in restaurants or at parties. The purpose of this research is to find ways to identify people who have hearing loss caused by loud noise exposure and eventually develop strategies for helping those people hear better in background noise.

    For more information or to participate in this study, click here​.

  • Improving Hearing Tests for Children with Motor or Developmental Delays

    ​Principal Investigator: Lori Leibold, Ph.D.

    Children with significant motor or developmental challenges are needed for a hearing research study. The Human Auditory Development Lab at Boys Town National Research Hospital is conducting a research study to develop better methods for testing hearing in children who have difficulty making clear responses to sound.

    Who can participate?

    • Children between 5 and 18 years of age
    • Children who have a significant motor or developmental challenges
    • Children who have normal hearing or are hard of hearing

    What does participation involve?

    • Participation lasts 1-2 hours and requires 1 visit to the lab.
    • Your child will sit in a sound-treated booth and listen to sounds presented through headphones or through a speaker. We will observe your child's responses to sound. The sounds your child will hear are not loud.
    • Our friendly staff has extensive experience working with children of all ages and abilities.

    Is there compensation for participating in this study?

    • Children receive $15 per hour.

    When can I schedule an appointment?

    • Appointments are available weekdays, evenings, and Saturday mornings.
    • We can schedule your visit to the lab on the same day as clinic appointments, if possible.

    For more information or to schedule an appointment, please contact Heather Porter at (531) 355-6625 or Heather.Porter@boystown.org.

    These studies are funded by the National Institutes of Health – National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIH-NIDCD) Grant # R01 DC014460.

  • How Children who are Hard of Hearing Listen in Background Noise

    ​Principal Investigator: Lori Leibold, Ph.D.

    Children who are hard of hearing are needed for research studies. The Human Auditory Development Lab at Boys Town National Research Hospital is conducting a research study on how children hear in noisy environments.

    Eligible participants:

    • Are between 5 and 16 years of age
    • Have permanent sensorineural hearing loss in both ears
    • Wear hearing aids in both ears

    What does participation involve?

    • Participation lasts approximately 2 hours and requires 1-2 visits to the lab.
    • Children are tested while seated in a sound-treated booth and are asked to respond to comfortable sounds presented from a speaker. The sounds will be presented in quiet and in various background sounds.
    • We will check the function of your child's hearing aids to make sure they are working well. In addition, if your child has not had a hearing test in the past 6 months, one will be completed at no cost to you.

    Is there compensation for participating in this study?

    • Participants receive $15 per hour of study participation.

    When can I schedule an appointment?

    • Appointments are available weekdays, evenings, and Saturday mornings.  We can schedule your visit to the lab in conjunction with clinic appointments if possible.

    For more information or to schedule an appointment, please contact Jenna Browning at (531) 355-6625 or Jenna.Browning@boystown.org.

    These studies are funded by the National Institutes of Health – National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIH-NIDCD) Grant # R01 DC011038

  • A Test of Children’s English/Spanish Speech Perception in Noise or Speech Maskers

    ​Principal Investigator: Lori Leibold, Ph.D. 

    The Human Auditory Development Lab at Boys Town National Research Hospital is conducting a research study that will help in the development of a clinical test used to test the hearing of Spanish-speaking children. Children are tested while seated in a sound-treated booth and are asked to respond to comfortable sounds presented from a speaker or headphones. Testing requires 1 visit of 1 hour and 30 minutes and the participant will receive $15 per hour of participation.

    Recruiting needs:

    • Children between the ages of 4 and 17 years that have been exposed to English and Spanish.
    • Children with normal hearing and children who are hard of hearing.

    For more information or to schedule an appointment, please contact Manuel Vicente at (531) 355-6625.

  • Audiovisual Speech Enhancement in Children

    Principal Investigator: Kayla Lalonde, Ph.D.

    The purpose of this study is to learn how children use visual cues on a talker's face

    (i.e., "lip reading") to help understand speech in noisy backgrounds.

    You will complete vision, hearing, and language tests. You will listen to/watch speech in noise. Sometimes you will let us know when you hear the speech by pressing buttons. Sometimes we will record you repeating back words and sentences using a microphone. You will be compensated $15 per hour for participation.

    Recruiting needs:

    Children 5 to 15 years and adults 19 to 29 years of age are needed. Participants must have normal hearing and normal or corrected-to-normal vision. They must use English as their first language and have no speech or language impairment.

    For more information, please call (531) 355-6664 or email Kaylah.Lalonde@boystown.org.  

  • COACH – Caregivers Optimizing Achievement of Children with Hearing Loss​

    Principal Investigator: Sophie Ambrose, Ph.D.

    The Communication Development Lab is currently recruiting families with young children ages 15-33 months with bilateral hearing loss to participate in intervention studies.  The research seeks to help families improve the language outcomes of children with hearing loss.   Research lab staff will drive to families' homes for the course of the research study.  Potential participants and their families should live within an hour drive of the Omaha area. ​

    For more information, please call (531) 355-5096 or email Margo.Appenzeller@boystown.org.

Language Learning and Communication​ Studies

  • Word Learning Studies for 4-, 5-, and 6-year-old Children

    Principal Investigator: Katherine Gordon, Ph.D.

    We are investigating preschool-age children’s ability to learn and remember words. For this study, children complete a series of visits. During the first visit they complete a variety of tests that assess language abilities and IQ. Results are shared with parents upon request. A trained speech-language pathologist is available to consult with families and provide support for children with language disorders. The remaining visits occur over a one-month period. During these visits, children are taught new words, and their memory for the words is tested through games. Children are given $5-$10 per session with a total probable compensation of $55-$90.

    Recruiting Needs:

    We are looking for primarily English-speaking children who are 4-, 5-, and 6-years old who are typical language learners, and those who have a language delay. Children with a language delay often use language similar to that of children who are 6-months to a year younger than them. They may use fewer vocabulary words than their peers or struggle with using grammatically correct speech.

    If you are unsure if your child qualifies, contact our lab manager Stephanie Uglow, MS, CCC-SLP, by phone at (531) 355-5034 or by email (​Stephanie.Uglow@boystown.org). We are happy to answer any questions.

  • The Children's Vocabulary Project​

    Principal Investigator: Karla McGregor, Ph.D.

    The Word Learning Lab is now recruiting 6- and 7-year-olds in Eastern Iowa to participate in a language study. The goal of this research is to understand the ways children learn language and how vocabulary-learning changes as children grow. Our team will visit participants three times per year over the course of four years. Compensation is $20 per hour for all visits.

    For more information or to schedule a visit, please contact Nichole Eden at (319) 338-5213, or sign up online.

  • Development of Verbal Working Memory Strategies​​

    Principal Investigator: Angela AuBuchon, Ph.D.

    We are interested in how children remember the words they hear or read, especially when they have other things distracting them. Imagine you told your child to, "Put on your shoes and socks before you go outside," so she runs to her room to search for shoes and socks. A few minutes later your find her on the floor with her building blocks--no socks or shoes in sight! Our research tries to understand how long children can remember words, what kinds of distractions are too distracting, and why some children are better than others at remembering words.

    Recruiting needs:

    We are currently recruiting children ages 7-9. They should have normal hearing as well as normal or correct-to-normal (e.g. glasses) vision. To be eligible, a child cannot have a learning-related diagnosis (e.g. ADHD, Autism, Intellectual disability). The child must speak English at home.

    For more information, please contact Angela AuBuchon at (531) 355-6380 or angela.aubuchon@boystown.org.



Hearing, Cochlear Implant, Balance, and Speech and Language Research laboratories are located at the Downtown Medical Campus of Boys Town National Research Hospital (555 N. 30th Street, Omaha, NE 68131) and the adjacent Lied Learning and Technology Center (425 N. 30th Street, Omaha, NE 68131). Neurobehavioral Research laboratories are located at the Boys Town National Headquarters building (14100 Crawford St, Boys Town, NE 68010​).

For additional information, please contact Mary Thomas, Recruitment and Quality Assurance Program Coordinator, Human Subjects Core, at (531) 355-6705 or Core@boystown.org.​​