Dr. Matthew Masapollo was awarded a Hearing Health Foundation grant for a project titled “Contributions of auditory and somatosensory feedback to speech motor control in congenitally deaf 9-to-10-year-olds and adults.” Drs. Susan Nittrouer and Yonghee Oh are co-investigators on the grant. Hearing Health Foundation grants are designed to “accelerate research on the auditory and vestibular systems and enabling investigators to go on to secure NIH and other major grants.”
Project Title: Contributions of auditory and somatosensory feedback to speech motor control in congenitally deaf 9-to-10-year-olds and adults
Abstract: Cochlear implants (CIs) have improved the likelihood that children born with severe-to-profound hearing loss will be able to develop productive speech, but problems persist. These problems undoubtedly arise because the degraded auditory signals available through CIs do not allow children to develop connections between speech production and the auditory signals it causes. We here will test the hypothesis that the degradation of the acoustic signal that occurs with CI processing leads to enhanced reliance on oral-facial somatosensory inputs for speech sensorimotor learning. Using electromagnetic articulography, we will examine speech movements in deaf children when auditory and/or somatosensory feedback is unavailable.