Hearing, or a person's experience with sound, shapes a number of auditory, language and cognitive skills. A hearing loss, particularly when experienced at or shortly after birth, therefore can interfere with the development of these skills. As a result, long-term impacts on language, literacy and educational outcomes may occur.
The goal of my research program is to understand how differences in auditory experience relate to spoken language comprehension in young children. We use age-appropriate behavioral and psychoacoustical techniques to address the following research questions:
How does auditory experience influence language learning?
Does hearing loss interfere with communicative behaviors in infancy?
In addition, we are beginning to study the influence of audiovisual speech perception and background noise on spoken language processing in preschool children.