The most commonly reported complaint of listeners with hearing loss is difficulty understanding speech in the presence of background noise. This is true both with and without the use of hearing aids. While hearing aids increase the level, or “volume,” of speech and provide a more usable signal for many listeners, the benefits of amplification are limited by physiological damage to the inner ear. Often the amplified sounds are still distorted by the damaged ear, and any additional background noise still impedes a listener’s ability to understand speech. In amplitude-modulated noise, in which the level of the noise fluctuates over time, normal-hearing listeners can take advantage of brief reductions in amplitude (valleys) between the peaks of the noise to improve performance compared to that in “steady-state” noise, a phenomenon referred to as masking release. Even in cases of mild hearing loss, hearing-impaired listeners experience less masking release than normal-hearing listeners (e.g. Dubno et al., 2002). For several years, investigators have been attempting to understand all of the contributing factors to this reduction in masking release that is observed in hearing-impaired listeners. The current study is designed to investigate the effects of inherent amplitude fluctuations within “steady-state” noise on detection of a simple pure-tone signal that occurs immediately after the masker is turned off (forward masking).
Among individuals that have had a stroke, poor motor rehabilitation outcomes are often associated with elevated brain activity in the hemisphere that was not directly affected by the stroke. There are several reasons that this may be happening. The purpose of this study is to determine whether elevated brain activity in the opposite hemisphere is due to changes in brain function or brain structure.
This study is being conducted to learn whether speech understanding improves through prolonged training with speech sounds and how brain function relates to this improvement. This study includes a basic hearing test, tasks pertaining to perception, mood, memory, and reasoning, questionnaires, MRI scanning of the brain, and participation in a computer-based speech-understanding training program customized to the participant’s hearing loss. Volunteers age 60 years and older with hearing loss who have never used hearing aids or used them only briefly are currently being recruited. The study requires approximately 2-3 visits per week for a period of 8-12 weeks, scheduled at the participant’s convenience. Compensation available. For further information please contact Stephanie Cute 843-792-5916 or email: email@example.com
This project, funded by the National Institutes of Health, is being conducted to determine the effects of aging on hearing, understanding speech, and brain functions. This study will provide a scientific basis for diagnosis, rehabilitation and prevention of hearing loss due to aging. Volunteers who meet the eligibility requirements may enroll in this study, which will include measurements of hearing, making listening judgments of sounds, behavioral tasks, questionnaires, and MRI scanning of the brain. Participants 40 years of age and older with normal hearing or hearing loss are currently being recruited. Three visits of 2-3 hours each are required and scheduling is flexible.