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Bonino earned her Ph.D. in hearing science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she also did postdoctoral work. She is now an assistant professor in the department of speech, language, and hearing sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder. Bonino’s 2017 ERG grant is generously funded by the General Grand Chapter Royal Arch Masons International.

I always say that I have the best job—I get paid to ask interesting questions. Having this level of independence, creativity, and flexibility in my work allows me to better serve children with hearing loss through my research.

Children’s development of speech and language is often diminished because of competing sounds in the surrounding environment. While it is clear that the ability to listen in noise substantially improves between infancy and entering school around age 5, we do not know how and when this process unfolds during the intervening years. I want to help develop a
reliable behavioral method for measuring speech perception in noise for toddlers and preschoolers, to better understand auditory development, the effects of hearing loss, and the potential underpinnings of auditory processing disorders.

I was first exposed to real experimental science for my seventh-grade science fair. For my project, I attempted to grow tomatoes and beans using hydroponics, that is, with nutrients but without soil. It was a complete failure. Despite never successfully growing any plants, I learned about controlled experiments and the importance of persistence, an important lesson.

The effects of hearing loss on child development was something I became interested in through my undergraduate studies of language development and cognition at the University of Rochester. As a graduate student in audiology at Vanderbilt University, I quickly realized the importance of research in guiding clinical practice. And then as a practicing educational audiologist, I saw how little of a research base there was for many of the clinical decisions I was making. Ultimately, these experiences led me to become a researcher.

As a mother of three young children, I spend most of my time outside of working chasing children... and folding laundry. I am slightly obsessed with car seats for infants and children and ensuring that they are installed correctly. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that nearly half of car seats are incorrectly installed, increasing the risk of injury. So I try to tell every parent I know: Make an appointment at your local fire station to have your child’s car seat checked—it’s free!

It is my goal that my research and teaching improves the lives of children with hearing loss and their families. Every day I also have the privilege of working with students who will be the next generation of clinicians. I hope that when they leave our program they will be lifelong learners who critically question and incorporate research into their clinical practice while being sensitive and empathic professionals.

Angela Yarnell Bonino, Ph.D.’s grant is generously funded by the General Grand Chapter Royal Arch Masons International. We want to thank the Royal Arch Masons for their ongoing commitment to research in the area of central auditory processing disorders.