Clinically Feasible Cortical Measures of Hearing Aid Benefit
Hearing speech is fundamental for human communication. Infants born with hearing loss often receive hearing aids by 2-3 months of age to improve access to speech and avoid delays in communication development. A current clinical challenge is the limited ability to assess whether hearing aids are of benefit during infancy. In infants so young, the only feasible way to measure hearing aid-facilitated access to speech is by using electroencephalogram (EEG). This project team aims to develop an EEG-based method that can measure access to speech by measuring cortical neural activity and inferring frequency-specific audibility using machine learning techniques. The method has the potential to be a clinically versatile and objective measure of hearing aid benefit that overcomes limitations related to stimulus, pathology and information gained using previous methods. In this 2-year proposal, UW–Madison will partner with an industry partner to facilitate future clinical translation of the novel method.
Viji Easwar, assistant professor of communication sciences and disorders
William Sethares, professor of electrical and computer engineering