Monday, October 9, 2023 10am to 11am
About this Event
1120 NW 14th St, Miami, FL 33136
Despite recent advances, people still suffer from communication difficulties that impact their professional, social, and family lives, as well as their mental health. Audiological approaches to hearing health face significant challenges due to diversity in individual pathophysiology. This diversity likely contributes to variations in speech understanding across people with the same degree of sensorineural hearing loss, and suggests a need for personalized approaches to audiological care. This talk will describe efforts to characterize suprathreshold effects that are hidden from current audiological measures, including considerations of their potential perceptual relevance and how they might be diagnosed in humans. Much of this work involves coordinated use of animal models (distinct and known pathophysiology) and human subjects (mixed and unknown pathophysiology). Distorted tonotopy, which results from outer-hair-cell (OHC) dysfunction, appears to be a more significant contributor to degraded neural coding of speech in the auditory-nerve than either broadened tuning or degraded temporal coding. Initial human results suggest that distorted tonotopy may be prevalent and predictive of speech perception in noise. Cochlear synaptopathy, for which the middle-ear-muscle reflex is a robust assay, appears to be widespread even in populations with clinically normal hearing. Inner-hair-cell dysfunction (e.g., stereocilia damage or reduced endocochlear potential), often overlooked, can affect coding of complex sounds. Our long-term goal is to integrate cross-species auditory neuroscience with data-science approaches to develop multi-metric based causal models linking distinct forms of cochlear pathology with perceptual outcomes to support precision audiology approaches that can identify the most promising avenues for treatment and rehabilitation for individual patients.
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