Hearing & Speech Sciences
BEHAVIORAL & SOCIAL SCIENCES THE SOLUTION
the University of Maryland’s Department of
Hearing & Speech Sciences (HESP), we’re giving people with speech, language and hearing impairments new opportunities to thrive. Our faculty and students work with individuals of all ages, investigating how the ear and brain
work together to hear and interpret spoken language, how to assist recovery from brain injury and how to restore or improve impaired voice, fluency and language skills that limit educational, vocational and social success. We study the brain in action at the Maryland Neuroimaging Center, and assess and treat disorders at our clinic and preschool. Our research is funded by agencies such as the National Institutes of Health, and we partner with top D.C.-area hospitals such as Children’s National Medical Center and Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for the research and training of speech-language pathologists, audiologists and speech-language and hearing scientists.
THROUGH NEW DIAGNOSES AND TREATMENTS,
we advance human communication.
SANDRA GORDON-SALANT examines how age-related
declines in hearing, central auditory processing and cognition challenge seniors to understand speech. She is developing signal-processing algorithms—automated computer programs—that will be built into hearing aids to alter sound or speech in real time so that listeners can more easily perceive speech. She also works with colleagues at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center to evaluate how the visual “clues” we rely on to supplement hearing can affect understanding of speech amid noise. Though a bionic implant—or two—can restore hearing to people who are deaf, the sound may be highly degraded or sound robotic and unnatural. MATTHEW GOUPELL’s research, funded by the National Institute
on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, measures sound perception in psychological tests and uses mathematical models of the brain to help people with two implants localize sounds and better understand speech in noisy situations. SAMIRA ANDERSON is studying the effects of age-
related hearing loss on neural processing of speech in noise and the extent to which auditory training can help older adults understand speech in difficult listening situations. As a researcher and clinician who has spent years working with individuals with hearing loss, she doesn’t want to dismiss her patients’ hearing problems as a natural effect of aging. She seeks novel solutions to address these concerns.
The Brain, the Ear & Hearing » How do we hear and understand speech? What causes hearing impairment, and how can we prevent and treat it? Our scientists are working to unravel problems that people have in hearing and understanding conversation, especially in noisy settings. With that knowledge, we develop more effective therapies and assistive devices (such as cochlear implants) to allow affected individuals to communicate successfully with the world around them.
“Being involved in the Audiology Unit at the National Institutes of Health allowed me to observe what audiologists do on a daily basis: interact with clients, conduct research and do administrative work. I was able to ask questions about the field and learn from professionals, which helped solidify my career choice.” LEAH GROSSE ’13
AMERICANS HAVE SIGNIFICANT HEARING LOSS.
Language Development, Impairment & Recovery » We’re working to detect and address language delay in typical and at-risk infants and children (such as those with Specific Language Impairment or Autism Spectrum Disorder), as well as to foster recovery of language after stroke or brain trauma in adults.
“In the Language and Cognition Lab, I assisted on a project using an eye tracker to investigate how children interpret passive sentences. I’ve also worked in another professor’s lab and completed a personal research project. These experiences have given me a deeper understanding of material, opened me up to other career options and given me closer relationships with my professors.” KATIE LIPPITT ’14
Understanding language is a complex task that requires the seamless coordination of multiple skills. YI TING HUANG studies how young children become more efficient listeners and readers throughout development. Her novel eye-tracking techniques show us how the moment-tomoment stages of “language processing” evolve over the early and school-age years. With colleagues in HESP, Psychology and Linguistics, she also studies how people with autism process language differently. Approximately one in 200 American adults has chronic difficulties in speaking and understanding language due to brain injury, a condition known as aphasia. YASMEEN FAROQI-SHAH studies relationships between thought
and language for people with aphasia, such as how to quickly formulate speech using proper grammar. A speechlanguage pathologist, she brings together methods from neuroimaging, linguistics and cognitive psychology to discover how speech therapy and other treatments can help the damaged adult brain reorganize itself. How do infants learn their native language? How do children and adults adapt to speakers with foreign accents, noisy preschools and restaurants or other difficult listening environments? Can these variations be used to identify infants at risk for autism or language disorder, so such children can receive help earlier in life? ROCHELLE NEWMAN and NAN BERNSTEIN RATNER study
how both an infant’s processing skills and languagelearning environment affect language acquisition.
4% STUTTERING AFFECTS MORE THAN
NICOLE LI works to understand how damaged voices can
be restored. Whether this damage stems from overuse or trauma—such as a soldier wounded in combat—she explores the unique properties of wound healing in the larynx to guide surgeons and clinicians in the best methods to repair voices that have been lost. What causes stuttering? From Freud’s theories on this subject to current studies using functional brain imaging, research has sought to better understand and treat this mysterious disorder. NAN BERNSTEIN RATNER and colleagues have pioneered new ways of understanding children’s language production skills before the onset of stuttering to help identify why children begin to stutter.
Giving People a Voice » Millions of children and adults are unable to communicate effectively because of problems with their voices, stuttering or other speech production disorders. HESP faculty members research important issues—such as the molecular factors underlying vocal cord wounds and how these wounds heal—and develop effective treatments that ultimately help restore the power of speech.
THE UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND HEARING & SPEECH CLINIC offers speech, language and hearing services to the
community while serving as a training and research facility for HESP graduate students. Our large cadre of exceptionally talented clinical instructors, who are experts in a variety of communication disorders, conduct vital research and guide graduate students through the process of integrating research evidence into the development of their skills as clinicians. In its research laboratories and a therapeutic preschool, clients of all ages can undergo speech-language evaluations and therapy, hearing evaluations and hearing aid fittings, and assistive technology/aural rehabilitation.
The Department of Hearing & Speech Sciences is one of the College of Behavioral & Social Sciences’ 10 diverse, interdiscipli nary departments and programs, all committed to investigating and improving the human condition.
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BEHAVIORAL & SOCIAL SCIENCES THE SOLUTION
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DEPARTMENT OF HEARING & SPEECH SCIENCES 0100 SAMUEL J. LEFRAK HALL COLLEGE PARK, MD 20742