Four grants were awarded for research that will increase our understanding of the causes, diagnosis, and treatment of CAPD, an umbrella term for a variety of disorders that affect the way the brain processes auditory information. All four of our CAPD grantees are General Grand Chapter Royal Arch Masons International award recipients.

+ Joseph H. Bochner, Ph.D.

Rochester Institute of Technology
Auditory Experience, Critical Periods, and the Development of Categorical Perception in Cochlear Implant Users: A Preliminary Investigation

My project will investigate the role of age on the success of cochlear implantation and auditory experience on the development of perceptual (phoneme) categories in prelingually deaf cochlear implant users. The research will demonstrate the degree to which these cochlear implant users can categorize speech sounds, which will improve our understanding of speech perception and the effects of early auditory deprivation on the overall success of cochlear implantation.

Long-Term Goal: To understand the impact of sensorineural (peripheral) hearing loss may extend to central auditory processing when the onset of hearing loss occurs at birth or within the first two to three years of life. This project will study the nature and extent of this impact on the development of categorical speech perceptions in prelingually deaf cochlear implant users. Findings from our research will inform the delivery and development of auditory training programs within the context of pediatric audiology and auditory rehabilitation, as well as the provision of amplification devices to young children.

Dr. Bochner is a professor and department chair at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf at Rochester Institute of Technology. Bochner studied language and audition at the University of Wisconsin, receiving his Ph.D. in in 1983. He has been involved in the language sciences, deafness, and higher education for four decades, and conducted research on the acquisition of language and literacy skills, speech perception and production, and American Sign Language.

+ ANGELA BONINO, PH.D., CCC-AA

University of Colorado - Boulder
Toddlers’ and preschoolers’ ability to hear speech in noise: Assessing performance with a two-interval, observer-based procedure

Children require access to acoustic information in order to develop speech and language. However, this information is often degraded because of competing sounds in the environment. While it is clear that children’s ability to listen in noise substantially improve between infancy and entering school, we do not know how and when this process unfolds during the intervening years.

The objective of this project is to develop a reliable behavioral method for measuring speech perception in noise for toddlers and preschoolers. This approach will build upon a recently developed testing method, in which a child’s behavior is judged by an experimenter using a two-interval, two-alternative testing paradigm . The children’s response to the stimulus is further shaped by training them to perform a conditioned play-based response to the sound. The proposed research will test the hypotheses that reliable data can be collected from toddlers and preschoolers and that speech-in-noise abilities improve dramatically during this time period. Results from this project will provide us information on how typical auditory development unfolds during the toddler and preschooler years, which may advance our understanding of the potential underpinnings of auditory processing disorders and the effects of hearing loss.

Learn more about our research by watching this video.

Long-Term Goal: To examine toddlers’ and preschoolers’ auditory functioning with stimuli that are believed to be highly related to speech and language abilities. A second long-term goal is then to translate this research to the clinical setting by developing behavioral measures that can be used by audiologists to assess children’s auditory abilities, including early diagnosis not only of hearing loss but also central auditory processing disorder and other auditory conditions. This research will make progress toward this goal by establishing a reliable behavioral method for testing speech-in-noise abilities of toddlers and preschoolers.

Angela Yarnell Bonino, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder. She completed her clinical training in audiology at Vanderbilt University and her Ph.D. and postdoctoral training at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

+ INYONG CHOI, PH.D.

University of Iowa
Neural correlates of selective listening deficits in a multiple-speaker environment

Choi’s lab studies how human brains understand speech in noisy everyday settings, how central brain functions are affected by hearing loss, and how we can improve hearing-related brain functions with training.

This study will investigate several key neural processing systems required for successful speech communication in noisy social settings, and how neural processing deteriorates in listeners with degraded hearing ability. As such the project involves basic neuroscientific research of the central auditory system and translational research on hearing rehabilitation techniques.

Long-term goal: To develop clinical tests to identify specific hearing deficits that are currently undiagnosed and raise awareness of such “hidden” hearing loss.

Inyong Choi is an assistant professor in the Department of communication sciences and disorders at the University of Iowa. He received a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Seoul National University, South Korea, with focus on acoustics and psychoacoustics. After industry research at the Samsung R&D Center and postdoctoral studies in the field of auditory neuroscience and neuroimaging at Boston University, he started his lab at the University of Iowa in August 2015.

+ CHRISTINA REUTERSKIÖLD, PH.D.

New York University
Rhyme Awareness in Children with Cochlear Implants: Investigating the Effect of a Degraded Auditory System on Auditory Processing, Language, and Literacy Development

Successful literacy is critical for a child’s development. Decoding written words is mostly dependent on the child’s processing of speech sounds, requiring a certain level of awareness of speech sounds and words in order to develop literacy skills. If the benefits of early cochlear implantation support the development of central auditory processing skills and phonological awareness, children with cochlear implants (CIs) would be expected to acquire phonological awareness skills comparable to children with typical hearing.

However, past research has generated conflicting results on this topic, which this project will attempt to remedy through investigating rhyme recognition skills and vocabulary acquisition in children who received CIs early in life.We will also shed light on the importance of central auditory processing during a child’s first years of life for developing strong literacy skills.

Long-Term Goal: To better understand the implications of early auditory deprivation on auditory processing, language, and literacy learning in children, which will ultimately lead to improvements in targeted intervention and educational approaches for these children.

Dr. Christina Reuterskiöld received her Ph.D. in Medical Science with a concentration in communication sciences and disorders from Lund University in Sweden. She holds an M.Sc. in speech-language pathology from Boston University and from Lund University and is certified as a speech-language Pathologist by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and the Swedish Board of Social Care. She is currently an associate professor and the chair of the department of communicative sciences and Disorders at New York University.