Differentiating the causes of observed listening deficit in children

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Little boy listening to headphones

The key research goals in this project are:

  • Investigate the relationships between the abilities measured on each level of the listening test, enabling a new clinical test-battery to be implemented into clinical practice in Melbourne (or elsewhere in Australia) and for the potential establishment of a university service in Manchester (or elsewhere in the UK).
  • Develop minor variations to enable the test battery to be applied worldwide (different versions of the top-level test, will depend on the language spoken)
  • Enable future users of the test battery to determine the dominant problem(s) causing individual children to present with listening difficulties and more appropriately target remediation than is currently possible.
  • The parallel Manchester-based program will be concurrently establishing normative data sets for populations in both settings

The details

A range of deficits can cause children difficulty in understanding speech in acoustically challenging situations, like classrooms. It is currently challenging to determine the cause of these difficulties. Deficits in auditory processing, speech processing, language processing, or cognition all present in similar manners and can be difficult to test for separately.

A systematic approach to differentiate between these causes has been devised. The proposed approach is a tri-level test battery, comprising top-level speech perception ability, mid-level phoneme identification ability and a low-level acoustic resolution task.

The combined approach, in conjunction with cognitive test scores, will allow for differentiation of the cause of the observed listening deficit. This project will contribute to our understanding of how the abilities measured by these novel tests relate to one another and are influenced by basic underlying processes.

The graduate researcher on this project is: Alisha Gudkar

Supervision team

Other joint PhD projects