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Research in Speech and Hearing Science


Academic Staff:  
Postdoctoral Researchers:  
Current Research assistants:  
Current Research students:  
    PhDs completed since 2001

About the Speech and Hearing Science Research Group

Research focuses on the interface between basic and clinical issues in speech communication, addressing both speech/language and auditory impairments. The group provides theoretical and technical expertise as a focus for collaborative research at UCL and beyond. Main foci are:
1) basic research into phonetic representations of speech and their development in both first and second languages;

translational research into auditory prostheses for speech communication involving study of the receptive capacity of the impaired auditory system for acoustic and electrical stimulation;

elucidating Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) in relation to speech/language development and communication ability.

Stuart Rosen has brought theoretical insight and new research techniques to national and international collaborations in APD. His work on auditory discrimination skills, and his collaboration with Sophie Scott on rhythmic and nonverbal aspects of auditory perception, has provided new grounds for exploring developmental language impairments. Andrew Faulkner and colleagues' cochlear implant work demonstrates perceptual adaptation to the distortions of frequency-to-place mapping that arise in CI users, and the limitations of current devices in signalling the pitch of spectrally-varying sounds such as speech. Paul Iverson has established a new theoretical conceptualization of the acquisition of non-native speech sounds which he is now applying to L2 training. Valerie Hazan's ground-breaking studies of talker variability revealed inter-listener differences in the acoustic-phonetic determinants of speech intelligibility. She has also led the international field in considering the role of speechreading in the learning of non-native English contrasts. The group has been awarded 10 project grants since 2001, of which 7 continue to 2009 and beyond, and staff have authored over 40 journal articles, receiving over 450 citations.


Current Research Projects


Recently Completed Research Projects


With Stuart Rosen: internally with Best (HCS), Karmiloff-Smith (Birkbeck), Scott (HCS and ICN), Vance (Sheffield), van der Lely (HCS) and UCL Ear Institute; externally with Bishop (Oxford), Goswami (Cambridge), Ramus (Paris), Souza (Washington).

With Paul Iverson: internally with Leff (Institute of Neurology) and with Kuhl (Seattle), Hamann (Utrecht), Uther (Brunel), Ylinen (Helsinki).

With Valerie Hazan: with Bradlow (Northwestern), Sennema (Potsdam), Burnham, Cutler, Davis, Kim (University of Western Sydney, Australia).

Impact, applications, translational work and links with industry

Cochlear Implant research has generated invited presentations to AAAS and NIH-funded meetings in the US, a highlight article in Audiology Today (July 2004) and the recruitment of Faulkner and Rosen as commentators for the forthcoming NICE review of the cost-effectiveness of cochlear implants. Close links with the two world-leading manufacturers (Cochlear & Advanced Bionics), who employ 5 group alumni in research roles, provide research tools and ongoing technical support. Faulkner leads a CEC Integrated Project workpackage on hearing aid and cochlear implant fitting involving Cochlear Europe, Amsterdam University Medical Centre (Dreschler), Erasmus University Rotterdam (Verschuure), Oldenburg University (Kollmeier), and the RNID (HEARCOM FP-004171). Audiovisual speech synthesis: Faulkner co-established EU project SYNFACE to develop and evaluate a system providing lipreading cues supporting hearing-impaired use of the telephone. This collaboration with Granström (KTH Stockholm), RNID, Instituut voor Doven (St Michielsgestel, NL), and the international telecoms company Babel led to a product launch in 2006 (the "Eyephone"). APD: Rosen contributes to ASHA (American Speech-Language-Hearing Association) and British Society of Audiology working groups on criteria for APD diagnosis.

PhDs completed since 2001:


Recently published work: