• Audiology Research
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  • student adding chemicals under the fume hood

The faculty in the Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences have a long history of significant scholarly contributions. Their research has been published in highly respected scholarly journals and presented at state, regional, national and international meetings. The department is home to state of the art research laboratories. The following provides a brief overview of our areas of research:

Alternative and Augmentative Communication and Cognitive Pragmatics - Dr. Jan Bedrosian
Our research examines attitudes of public service providers toward users of AAC and their communication in various public settings using videotaped, scripted conversational conditions. We also study how typical adult speakers interpret ambiguous messages, represented by violations of Grice's conversational maxims, in videotaped, scripted conversational conditions. Our research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Balance Laboratory - Dr. Robin Criter
We study balance and fall risk in older adults, the effects of concussion and traumatic brain injury on the vestibular and balance systems, and the effects of anxiety on postural control.

Neurogenic Communication Intervention Lab - Dr. Suma Devanga
We aim to bridge the clinical-functional gap in managing acquired neurogenic communication disorders by studying intervention approaches that better help individuals with aphasia and other neurogenic communication disorders to communicate in everyday life. Our research typically involves discourse analyses of conversation samples from target participants and their communication partners in different settings.  

Aphasia Communication Enhancement (ACE) Program - Ms. Sandra Oslager Glista
We study contemporary issues in the group treatment of people with chronic aphasia. Our most recent work focuses on the therapeutic use and application of commercially available communication tools and technologies, such as smart phones, email systems, and computer mediated voice and video calling, by adults with language disorders.   

Speech Acoustics Laboratory - Dr. James Hillenbrand
Research in our Speech Acoustics Laboratory has focused mainly on trying to understand the auditory and pattern-matching mechanisms that are involved in recognizing the speech sounds that form the sound pattern of English. Our experiments typically involve acoustic analyses of large databases of speech recorded from a variety of different speakers, developing hypotheses about underlying pattern-matching mechanisms on the basis of those analyses, and then testing those hypotheses with listening experiments that use computer-generated or computer-modified speech signals. Our laboratory is also involved in research that is designed to improve our understanding of the physiological and perceptual mechanisms that are responsible for variations in voice quality.

Linguistic and Cultural Diversity Studies - Dr. Yvette Hyter
We study the social communication skills of children affected by abuse, neglect, and prenatal alcohol exposure. Our research also focuses on the development of curriculum units about the consequences of globalization on literacy definitions and the implications of language policies in the U. S. Midwest and Senegal, West Africa.

Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory - Dr. Bharti Katbamna
Our lab uses the frog as a model system to understand the molecular mechanisms of developmental auditory disorders, particularly those produced by embryonic exposure to teratogens like nicotine, vaping, and alcohol.

Auditory Perception and Cognition Research Laboratory - Dr. Jing Shen
Speech communication, the ability to engage in conversation and communicate with others in social scenarios, is a crucial component in older adults’ social participation and directly impacts their psychosocial well-being. We know a common complaint from many older individuals is difficulty in perceiving speech under adverse conditions, such as in noisy environment, or in group conversation. This problem is also exacerbated by multiple health issues, such as age-related hearing loss and cognitive impairment. The research in our lab addresses this problem based on multiple lines of work.     

  • Perceptual mechanisms in older adults’ speech perception under adverse conditions and the variability across individual listeners   
  • Interplay between hearing loss and cognitive difficulty in the aging cohort and its impact on clinical service  
  • Speech perception outcome measures that capture online processing of speech with fine-grained time sensitivity 

Neurogenic Communication Disorders - Dr. Linda Shuster
We study brain mechanisms underlying speech production and perception, as well as acquired neurogenic communication disorders, such as apraxia of speech.  Methodologies we employ include functional neuroimaging, acoustic analysis, and perceptual analysis.  Our ultimate goal is to identify ways to help people recover their communication skills to the greatest extent possible after a brain injury and ways to maintain their communication skills as long as possible in the presence of neurodegenerative disease.

Speech Production Laboratory - Dr. Stephen Tasko
Our research focuses on the motor processes that underlie normal and disordered speech production.  Currently, we are pursuing two general lines of work. One line involves developing a better understanding of how healthy speakers coordinate and scale respiratory, phonatory and articulatory motor activity to produce fluent, intelligible speech. For example, some recent work has focused on the articulatory adjustments speakers make as they vary factors such as speaking rate, loudness and phonetic structure. A second line of work studies speech motor processes in adults who stutter.  Recent studies have focused on investigating coordination strategies of stutterers and non-stutterers, evaluating speech motor changes following stuttering treatment, and developing typologies of stutterers based on speech motor behavior. 

Intervention in Child Speech and Language Disorders - Dr. Ann Tyler
Our research focuses on examining aspects of intervention effectiveness for different populations of children with speech and co-occurring language impairment, as well as professional development for implementation of evidence-based practices in speech sound disorders intervention.