Research in this Program addresses the challenge of enabling researchers, teachers and clinicians to better identify different types of hearing loss and Central Auditory Processing Disorders (CAPD) and devise therapies that target the individual needs of children, adults or the elderly. It will focus on developing clinical tools to diagnose specific hearing and/or auditory processing deficits and remediation strategies to address these deficits – based on our novel insights into the brain’s processing of sound.
Our studies using behavioural tests, electrophysiology and brain imaging using magnetoencephalography (MEG) technology (pictured above right) have revealed the loss of speech intelligibility in CAPD arises from compromised auditory abilities such as: processing speed, working memory, attention switching, and the ability to combine or separate sounds at the two ears, particularly in noisy environments.
For each specific form of hearing loss or CAPD, we aim to establish an evidence base that determines:
- Whether there are differences in:the brain’s language and reading processes as compared to listener’s without deficits;
- If the language spoken (tonal vs. non-tonal) makes a difference; whether there are specific differences in the elderly; and
- How use of a cochlear implant (CI) affects auditory processing development over time.
The research project themes in this Program and associated projects are shown below.