Auditory Processing of Complex Sounds
“Complex sounds” are sounds that are more complicated than a pure tone. Most interesting sounds fall into this category, including speech, environmental sounds, and background noise. When sounds contain more than one frequency, the different frequency components generally interact, sometimes in a complex manner. The nature of these interactions (which are due to nonlinearities in the inner ear) change after hearing loss.
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Computational Models for Auditory-Nerve Fibers
This research project focuses on developing a detailed computational model for the responses of auditory-nerve (AN) fibers in the normal and impaired auditory periphery. Modeling AN fiber responses provides a useful tool for testing our understanding of the underlying mechanical and physiological processes in the auditory periphery.
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Computational Models for Central Auditory Neurons
We have explored a number of computational models for neurons in the ascending auditory pathway, from the brainstem through the midbrain. Our current efforts are focused on modeling the responses of neurons in the auditory midbrain. We are developing a comprehensive model that can explain several of the key response properties of these neurons. Our goal is a single model that is able to accurately describe responses to a number of stimulus paradigms. Such a model will be valuable in understanding the role of this brain region in processing of complex sounds.
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Detection of Tones in Noise
Listeners with normal hearing can understand speech in a typical noisy background much more easily than listeners with hearing loss, even with the help of hearing aids. The goal of this project is to understand the acoustic cues and strategies that can explain results in a tone-in-noise detection task. Furthermore, we want to understand how these strategies change for listeners with hearing loss.
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Speech Coding & Speech Enhancement
In collaboration with Prof. Joyce McDonough in the Linguistics Department, we are studying neural coding of speech sounds. Our approach is to let the properties of midbrain neurons guide our understanding of the codes for commons speech sounds, such as vowels.
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