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Head of Research Department: Speech Hearing and Phonetic Sciences
Professor of Speech and Hearing Science
Division of Psychology and Language Sciences
University College London
Room 314,Chandler House
2 Wakefield Street, London WC1N 2PF
Phone: + 44 (0) 20 7679 4075
Speech Perception, Hearing, Hearing Impairment. I am an Experimental Psychologist by training with specialization in hearing and psychoacoustics. My Doctorate was on models of pitch perception.
My main activities address the problems associated with encoding speech for people with profound hearing impairment. This has encompassed work on cochlear implants; speech-pattern processing acoustic and tactile aids; auditory-visual speech perception.
I also play music - mainly jazz, on the guitar and double bass. My SoundCloud is here.
Nada Al-Sari: SHaPS -The development of an Arabic Lexical Neighbourhood Test
Lucy Carroll: SHaPS - Pitch perception and production in children with cochlear implants
Ritva Torppa: University of Helsinki Department of Psychology - “Pitch-related speech perception abilities and links to music involvement in early-implanted children”
Mark Wibrow: SHaPS - “Performance-based measures of speech quality”, Studentship supported by Research In Motion
David Morris: Copenhagen University - “Perception of intonation in noise by adult cochlear implant users”
Susanna Griffin: UCL Ear Institute - “Pitch perception using virtual channel cochlear implant speech processors”, UCL Impact studentship with co-funding from Advanced Bionics.
Cristiane Chia Tseng Hsu: SHaPS - “Prosody in autism spectrum disorder”
Anahita Homi Mehta: UCL Ear Institute - “EEG indicators of auditory streaming” UCL Grand Challenges Studentship
Current Funded Research
Pitch perception and production in children with cochlear implants
Pitch processing is widely thought to play an important
role in speech and language development, yet children developing speech
and language through auditory input from a CI may be impeded in this
because they do not receive sufficiently good pitch information. This
project is studying a sample of at minimum 20 children with cochlear
implants aged 6-10 to characterise their pitch processing for
speech-like sounds and investigate the relations of pitch processing to
prosodic processing and language development.
Many cochlear implant users enjoy improved speech perception, particularly in noise, from using a contralateral hearing aid. However, uncertainty remains regarding the sources of bimodal benefit. The project seeks to further develop our understanding of factors underlying bimodal benefit, helping to establish clinically applicable methods for optimally combining an implant and a contralateral hearing aid and extending the population of implant users able to benefit from residual hearing.
Recently completed projects
HearCom is an integrated project under the FP6 ICT
programme. It involves 30 partners from 12 countries and is coordinated
by Tammo Houtgast and Marcel Vlaming from the VU University Medical
Center in Amsterdam. Our society is strongly and increasingly
communication-oriented. As much of this focuses on sound and speech,
many people experience severe limitations in their activities, caused
either by a hearing loss or by poor environmental conditions. The
HearCom project aims at reducing these limitations in auditory
Speech processors for combined electrical and acoustic hearing
A substantial number of cochlear implant users have considerable residual hearing in the unimplanted ear and recent studies have demonstrated that the use of a contralateral hearing aid often provides significantly improved speech perception, particularly in noise. The factors responsible for bimodal benefits are not well understood, though it appears likely that they result mostly from the provision of complementary information across modalities, rather than true binaural interactions. The proposed work will examine factors likely to be important in optimising the bimodal transmission of speech spectral information, focusing on three aspects of place-coding. This research will both clarify our understanding of factors underlying bimodal benefits and help to develop clinically applicable methods for optimally combining an implant and a contralateral hearing aid, thus providing a highly cost-effective way to improve everyday perceptual performance in many users of cochlear implants.
Optimisation of voice pitch information in cochlear implant speech processing
Main aim: To improve the transmission of pitch-related temporal information through a cochlear implant. Importance and timeliness: Current cochlear implant speech processing methods have been optimised for speech intelligibility in deafened adults. They provide very limited information to signal variations in the pitch of speech, especially over the range of pitch that is significant for the deaf child both in communication and in the development of spoken language. Cochlear implants are now becoming provided to deaf children in increasing numbers, yet there has been minimal attention to processing methods adapted to their needs.
The main purpose of the SYNFACE project is to increase the possibilities for hard of hearing people to communicate by telephone. Many people use lip-reading during conversations, and this is especially important for hard of hearing people. However, this clearly doesn't work over the telephone!. This project aims to develop a talking face controlled by the incoming telephone speech signal. The talking face will facilitate speech understanding by providing lip-reading support. This method works with any telephone and is cost-effective compared to video telephony and text telephony that need compatible equipment at both ends.