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ListenUP Research Collaborative

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The influence of visual speech on lexical access in children

During face-to-face communication, we have access to both acoustic and visual parts of speech because we can both hear and see the talker. Visual speech supports speech understanding, especially when there is background noise, when the listener has hearing loss, or when the acoustic parts of speech are distorted. This project tests how seeing a talker influences how children perceive and understand spoken language. We will test elementary school-age children who either have normal hearing or who have permanent sensorineural hearing loss.

Effects of background noise on word learning in preschool-age children

Children’s lives often contain background noise—such as other talkers, televisions and computers, heating and ventilation systems, and outside traffic—that interferes with children’s ability to process speech. Speech is the sole source of word learning for preschool-age children; thus, background noise may interfere with children’s ability to learn words, a critical process during early childhood that is related to long-term academic and occupational success. This project aims to determine how different types and intensity levels of background noise disrupt word learning, which ultimately will advance our understanding of how to maximally support word learning in real-world environments.

Literacy Development for Preschoolers with Hearing Loss

There is a wide range of literacy outcomes among children who are deaf and hard of hearing. Understanding how children develop literacy skills, and how hearing loss influences this development, will inform interventions for this population of children. This longitudinal study will document how children develop skills important for literacy, including phonological awareness, alphabet knowledge, vocabulary, and grammar.