Research in this Theme is developing new tools that will enable clinicians and teachers to accurately diagnose and target remediation to specific deficits, based on new insights into how the brain’s processing of sound is affected by hearing loss and APD. In doing so, it will address the challenge of enabling researchers, teachers and clinicians to:
- better identify different types of hearing loss and Auditory Processing Disorders (APD); 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.
To date, our studies using behavioural tests, electrophysiology and brain imaging using magneto-encephalography (MEG) technology (pictured above) have revealed that loss of speech intelligibility in APD 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. We wish to further develop this understanding by investigating APD as well as different types of hearing loss 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 compared to younger cohorts; and
- how use of a cochlear implant affects auditory processing over time.
The research projects in this Theme are shown below.