Welcome to the SPCH Lab!

Learning about how the brain and ears work together to perceive speech in challenging listening environments.

You hear with your ears, but you listen with your brain.

We study the neural and cognitive processes that enable people to comprehend speech in listening environments that are noisy, require multi-tasking, or both.
SPCH Lab logo: brain waves with a listening ear

Research in the Speech Perception, Cognition, and Hearing Lab lab focuses on the neural and cognitive underpinnings of speech perception, particularly when listening conditions are difficult. We use electrophysiological and behavioral methods to assess how neurocognitive resources are allocated during speech perception, as well as the impact of effortful listening in areas such as multi-tasking ability and fatigue.

Our participants include young and older adults with both normal hearing and hearing loss, with a particular focus on older adults with hearing impairment. The long-term goal of our research is to improve treatment of hearing loss through better understanding and diagnosis of the impacts of hearing loss and hearing healthcare on cognition.

We examine questions such as:

• What mental processes enable people to comprehend speech in challenging listening environments that are noisy, require multi-tasking, or both?

• What neural signatures indicate that these processes are active?

• How are these processes impacted by hearing loss and aging?

• How might listening situations be engineered to be less cognitively demanding?