Topic 2.3 - Improving integration of audio-visual speech cues in children with HI (ESR 7)

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The topic Improving integration of audio-visual speech cues in children with HI will be hosted at the KU Leuven (BE) and supervised by Astrid van Wieringen and Jan Wouters.

The extent to which listeners with hearing impairment (HI) communicate depends on 1) their hearing technology, and on 2) their own abilities to function with deprived auditory input. The goal of the proposed research is to gain a better understanding of the variability in listening performance using AVATAR (Audio- Visual True-to-life Assessment of Auditory Rehabilitation), a recently developed paradigm to assess auditory functioning and listening effort across the life span (Devesse et al. 2018). This true-to-life model for everyday real-life listening conditions (entailing auditory, visual and cognitive cues) allows an in-depth understanding of the challenges persons with HI encounter. In this research project, we will examine the extent to which young children with different degrees of HI are capable of integrating sensory and cognitive cues in multi-tasking and multi-modal situations.

This research will close the gap between current measurement techniques and self-report approaches to provide an in-depth understanding of the auditory/visual/cognitive interactions in speech perception in young children. This in turn will guide auditory rehabilitation to the individual needs of the child in a very important developmental period of their life.

Part of this project will take place at OTIC. This will offer the ESR a possibility to evaluate developed methods for measuring access to binaural cues in the OTIC 3D sound field reproduction setup on HI, BAHS, CI, or bimodal users. The secondment will be placed in time to ensure synergy with the four year IHear project (2017-2021) funded by the Danish Innovation Foundation (studying audiological, language, and social skills in 60 children with HI as they transition into school).

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