- Senior Lecturer
- The Ear Institute
- Faculty of Brain Sciences
It was as a clinical Audiological Scientist that I became interested in the question of how best to match a hearing aid/cochlea implant to an individual’s hearing loss. Eventually this question grew so big that I decided to devote my time trying to answer it.
My research career began with a series of Fellowships at Oxford University after which I moved to the Ear Institute. I currently investigate how auditory tests can be developed to provide a greater understanding of the perceptual consequences of a hearing loss, and how this knowledge can be used to direct hearing-aid/cochlea implant fittings.
The healthy ear displays certain nonlinearities in its processing of sounds. These nonlinearities are essential for the normal functioning of the ear. For instance, the basilar membrane within the cochlea of the inner ear vibrates less for mid-level sounds than it does for low-level sounds. Another nonlinearity is suppression, whereby the introduction of a sound of one frequency can reduce the basilar membrane response to a sound of another frequency presented at the same time. The loss of these nonlinearities is one of the main causes of a hearing loss. A second interest is that of pitch perception. In particular how temporal (timing) information is used to deduce the pitch of sounds composed only of high-numbered harmonics. Another strand of my research looks at the binaural cues that are used by listeners to home-in on a signal of interest in varying background noise (The cocktail party effect).