At my lab, nicknamed The Oorelian, our aim is to understand how speech perception is affected in less than optimal conditions. These conditions may be due to factors such as hearing impairment, ageing, communicating in a non-native language, or external noise.  Central in most of the projects we work on is an interest in the interactions between top-down, cognitive processing and bottom-up, perceptual processing. Can digital hearing-aid processing affect listening effort? Do bimodal or bilateral cochlear implants improve ease of listening? Is listening to speech in a non-native language more cognitively demanding than listening to speech in your native language? Are changes in speech understanding due to ageing solely perceptual or also cognitive in nature? These are just some of the questions we are interested in answering. For more information on any of these projects, or if you want to work with us, contact me here.

The Oorelian June 2012

The lab in 2012

current projects

Optimization and identification of bimodal/bilateral benefits with cochlear implants

PhD student: C.Pals, MSc, Co-supervisor: Prof. Dr. D. Başkent

A Cochlear Implant (CI) allows profoundly deaf people to hear again by translating acoustical signals to electrical signals which it passes on to the auditory nerve via electrodes in the cochlea. Listeners with state of the art cochlear implants achieve very good speech recognition results. However, in terms of “ease of listening” there is still room for improvement. We hypothesize that a good way of improving ease of listening is combining both conventional hearing aids and cochlear implants (bimodal stimulation) in either the same ear and/or presenting the signal to both ears by either CI or HA (bilateral stimulation). We will investigate this by testing the different conditions in for example reaction-time and dual-task experiments.

Differences in effort expended while listening to native and non-native speech in noisy environments

Bachelor Students: A. Drews, A. Gerrits, I. Ruchay, J. Sommer, L. Walz, Co-supervisor: Dr. S. Sprenger

Most of us are familiar with how difficult it is to follow conversations in noisy environments and how much more effortful and tiring it is when the conversation is in a language other than our native one. Using an eye-tracker during a spoken-word categorisation task, we investigate differences in cognitive effort (measured by changes in the size of the participant’s pupil), as a function of background noise and language.

Use of context in speech understanding by young and elderly adults

Bachelor Students: M. Alisch, K. Böhmen, T. Böske, M. Coenen, E. Jung, Co-supervisor: Prof. Dr. D. Başkent

Using an eye-tracker, we investigate how context information is used by young and elderly listeners when listening to simple and complex sentences.

select publications

  • Everhardt M., Sarampalis A., Coler M., Başkent D. and Lowie W. (2022) Speech Prosody: The Musical, Magical Quality of Speech. Front. Young Minds. 10:698575. doi: 10.3389/frym.2021.698575 pdf
  • Everhardt, M. K., Sarampalis, A., Coler, M., Başkent, D., & Lowie, W. (2020). Meta-Analysis on the Identification of Linguistic and Emotional Prosody in Cochlear Implant Users and Vocoder Simulations. Ear Hear, 1. pdf
  • Pals, C., Sarampalis, A., Beynon, A., Stainsby, T., & Başkent, D. (2020). Effect of Spectral Channels on Speech Recognition, Comprehension, and Listening Effort in Cochlear-Implant Users. Trends in Hearing. pdf
  • Everhardt, M. K., Sarampalis, A., Coler, M., Başkent, D., & Lowie, W. (2019). “Perception of L2 lexical stress in words degraded by a cochlear implant simulation.” Proceedings of the 19th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS). Melbourne, Australia. pdf
  • Pals, C., Sarampalis, A., van Dijk, M, Baskent, D. (2018). “Effects of Additional Low-Pass–Filtered Speech on Listening Effort for Noise-Band–Vocoded Speech in Quiet and in Noise.” Ear and Hearing, pdf
  • Baskent, D., Clarke, J., Pals, C., Benard, M.R., Bhargava, P., Saija, J., Sarampalis, A., Wagner, A., & Gaudrain, E. (2016). “Cognitive Compensation of Speech Perception With Hearing Impairment, Cochlear Implants, and Aging: How and to What Degree Can It Be Achieved?” Trends in Hearing, 20, 1-16. pdf
  • Hogenelst, K., Sarampalis, A., Leander, N. P., Müller, B. C., Schoevers, R. A., & Aan Het Rot, M. (2016). “The effects of acute tryptophan depletion on speech and behavioural mimicry in individuals at familial risk for depression.” Journal of Psychopharmacology (Oxford, England). pdf
  • Pals, C., Sarampalis, A., van Rijn, H., & Başkent, D., (2015). “Validation of a simple response-time measure of listening effort.” J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 138(3), EL187-EL192. pdf
  • Wagner, A., Pals, C., de Blecourt, C., Sarampalis, A., Başkent, D. (2015). “Does signal degradation affect top-down processing of speech?” International Symposium on Hearing, Groningen, The Netherlands. pdf
  • Başkent, D., Bhargava, P., Saija, J., Pals, C., Sarampalis, A., Wagner, A., & Gaudrain, E. (2015). “Cognitive compensation of speech perception in hearing loss: How and to what degree can it be achieved?” ISAAR Proceedings, Denmark. pdf
  • Pals, C., Sarampalis, A., & Başkent, D. (2013). “Listening Effort with Cochlear Implant Simulations.” Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 56(4), 1075-1084. pdf
  • Gallun F.J., Stecker G.C., Loui P., & Sarampalis A. (2013). “The Ear Club: Ervin R. Hafter’s academic family.” Presentation at the 2013 Fall Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America. San Franciso, CA. pdf
  • Pals, C., van Dijk, M., Sarampalis, A., & Başkent, D. (2012). “A dual-task paradigm as an objective measure of listening effort with cochlear implant simulations.” Presentation at the 7th International Symposium on Objective Measures in Auditory Implants. Amsterdam, NL.
  • Pals, C., Sarampalis, A., & Başkent, D. (2011). “Listening effort with cochlear implants and electric acoustic stimulation – A simulation study.” Presentation at the 2011 Conference on Implantable Auditory Prostheses. Asilomar, CA.
  • Sarampalis, A., Kalluri, S., Edwards, B., Hafter, E. (2009). “Objective measures of listening effort: Effects of background noise and noise reduction,” Journal of Speech Language and Hearing Research, 52, 1230-1240. pdf

our work in the media

The Din of Dining in the San Francisco Chronicle

Hear Today Gone Tomorrow in Cal Alumni Association News

Can Better Hearing Aids Help You Think Better? in Hearing Loss Web

oorelian alumni

Mareike Alisch

Katharina Böhmen

Tobias Böske

Maraike Coenen

Antonia Drews

Anne Gerrits

Enja Jung

Insa Ruchay

Jana Sommer

Laura Walz

Alexander Pietrus-Rajman

Marcus Lohden

Jan-Ole Gmelin

Defne Alfandari

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