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Auditory Perception Laboratory

Research Topic: 
Behavior Intervention
Hearing Disorders
Neuroscience in Speech
William Yost

Research in the Auditory Perception Laboratory focuses on the perception of sound by listeners with normal hearing and those with hearing loss. The lab has two main research foci: speech perception and sound source perception (auditory scene analysis) for listeners with normal and impaired hearing. The research dealing with speech perception involves patients who might benefit from other forms of sensory information about speech that are provided along with acoustic information (e.g., via a hearing aid) or electrical information (e.g., via a cochlear implant). We are investigating the interaction of visual or tactile information which might be provided to patients along with acoustic or electrical information. That is, the lab is studying multisensory interactions in speech perception. The main topics being investigated in the study of sound source perception include: pitch perception, sound source localization, auditory perception in reverberant spaces, and auditory perception based on modulated sounds. The research in sound source perception and auditory perception in reverberant spaces is conducted in the specially designed Spatial Hearing Laboratory. Pitch perception research is aimed at providing basic information about pitch as it is used in music and in the everyday sounds of the world. The ability to localize the source of sounds and to process sounds in reverberant spaces allows listeners to navigate in the complex world and to better process sounds in noisy places. Many sounds (e.g., speech and music) have a slow amplitude (loudness) modulation. Sometimes important aspects of the meaning of these sounds is imparted by the parameters of modulation. Our research seeks to better understand the relationships between auditory perception and amplitude modulation. Additional information about our research on sound source localization and auditory perception in reverberant spaces can be found in the description of the Spatial Hearing Laboratory.

Additional information for honors students:

Research projects may involve studying normal auditory perception or the perception of sounds by patients with hearing loss. Most often patients with hearing loss are studied with their hearing aids, cochlear implants, or both. Or we sometimes simulate using a cochlear implant and use listeners with normal hearing. Students learn to generate and control sounds and to use various behavioral procedures to measure auditory perception in listeners with normal and impaired hearing.