Role: PhD Student
Heivet Hernandez Perez obtained her BSc in Biology and MSc in Physiology from the University of Havana, Cuba. Before commencing her PhD in Macquarie University, she worked as a research assistant in the Speech and Hearing Department at the Neuroscience Cuban Centre.
Her research interests cover three areas:
1) The use of objective EEG-based methods (including auditory steady state responses and auditory brainsteam responses) to explore hearing in a frequency-specific manner with potential applications for hearing aids and cochlear implant users as well as hearing screening in newborns;
2) Understanding whether white matter properties in the auditory pathway (explored using diffusion tensor imaging technique) could be potentially useful to predict hearing sensitivity; and
3) Investigating foreign speech perception in musicians and non-musicians using electrophysiological approaches such as mismatch negativity and evoked related potentials.
Effects of auditory attention on otoacoustic emissions
My research project aims to understand whether speech stimuli drive the efferent control of the cochlear gain. Also, and more importantly for perception, we examine how attention modulates this efferent control of the cochlear gain by measuring otoacoustic emissions (sounds produced by the inner ear and associated with the cochlear gain). This study is relevant to understand attentional disorders such as learning difficulties, auditory processing disorders and autism: all populations in which efferent control of the cochlear gain is affected. We expect to find out how the degree of difficulty performing speech tasks and the cochlear gain are related.