By Tara Guastella
I am thrilled to report that for the third year HHF has received a generous gift of $100,000 from the Royal Arch Masons in support of of our 2013 Emerging Researchers studying central auditory processing disorder (CAPD).
CAPD is an umbrella term for a variety of disorders that affect the way the brain processes auditory information. The outer, middle, and inner ear of individuals who have CAPD are usually normal in structure and function (peripheral hearing). But they aren’t able to fully process the information they hear, which leads to difficulties in recognizing and interpreting sounds, especially those that compose speech. It is thought that these difficulties arise from a dysfunction in the central nervous system—the brain.
Individuals who have CAPD have difficulty concentrating when in an environment that is not perfectly quiet or has some "controlled" noise in the background. Understanding a verbal message will also be a problem when trying to listen to a speaker if someone else is talking or if ambient noise is present in the background.
People with CAPD often have to work harder than others just trying to receive auditory information in a meaningful way. It is a very frustrating situation for individuals when they can hear "perfectly" but cannot process auditory speech information in a meaningful way.
One of our Royal Arch Masons–funded researchers, Ross Maddox, Ph.D., is beginning a line of research investigating the specific behavioral effects of audio-visual binding and its processing in the brain. Behavioral tests with brain imaging will be used to investigate the importance of combining information across the visual and auditory senses, and establish relationships in brain activity and behavior, an effort that could inspire new audio-logical therapies.
For over 30 years, the Royal Arch Masons have supported CAPD research efforts, making it a priority to increase funds to this much needed area of research. We are honored that the Royal Arch Masons have chosen HHF as a recipient of this support, and we are inspired by the progress of our Royal Arch Masons–funded Emerging Researchers.
We are incredibly grateful for the continued support of the Royal Arch Masons and thank them for their annual contribution.