Masonic Foundation of Ontario supports research of Dr. Mary Beth Jennings
Dr. Mary Beth Jennings with Mr. Jim van Trigt, Chairman (left),
and Mr. John Kroezen (right), District Deputy Grand Master, Waterloo District 2008-2009.
The Waterloo District of the Masonic Foundation of Ontario is generously supporting
the research of Dr. Mary Beth Jennings at The National Centre for Audiology with a gift of $6,920.
The cheque was presented at the Waterloo District Masons Open House on Saturday September 19, 2009.
The focus of Dr. Jennings’ research is on adult aural rehabilitation with
a special interest in assessing outcomes from group aural rehabilitation (AR) programs. Other areas of
research include barriers and facilitators to the uptake and use of hearing assistive technologies
for older adults, assessing workplace accessibility for older workers with hearing loss, stigma and
disclosure of hearing loss, and the application of universal design principles to hearing.
New collaborative research project between the National Centre for Audiology, the Cochlear Implant program at London Health Science Centre, and Med-El
Modern cochlear implants are very successful neural prostheses, aiding
communication by restoring useful speech perception to many users, but their benefits in
restoring auditory spatial perception are at present limited and less well studied.
Binaural hearing is essential for accurate sound localization and enhanced speech perception
in challenging acoustic environments, but a systematic investigation of the relative merits of
providing binaural stimulation via bilateral implants is required. In this collaborative
research project between the National Centre for Audiology, the Cochlear Implant program at
London Health Science Centre, and Med-El, we plan to objectively track the changes in various
parameters in patients who undergo evolution from bilateral severe/profound hearing loss through
bimodal fitting and then to sequential bilateral cochlear implantation. In particular, we plan to:
(a) systematically investigate the benefits of bimodal fitting and bilateral implantation in sound
localization, speech perception in noise, and sound quality improvements through a battery of
subjective and objective outcome measures, and (b) address issues related to candidacy and treatment
for bilateral implantation. For further information contact Dr. Ewan Macpherson (firstname.lastname@example.org);
Dr. Vijay Parsa (email@example.com), Dr. Susan Scollie (Scollie@nca.uwo.ca),
Dr. Lorne Parnes (Lorne Parnes (Lorne.Parnes@LHSC.on.ca),
Ms. Kim Zimmerman (Kim.Zimmerman@LHSC.ON.CA) or
Ms. Kim Twitchell (firstname.lastname@example.org).
New student research opportunities March 2009
The NCA has received funding to expand and/or launch
several new programs of research. Students interested in pursuing
graduate work at the NCA are sought in the following areas:
Assistive listening device technologies. Assistive listening devices include hearing aids, cochlear implants, and specialized wireless microphone systems as well as modified versions of everyday devices such as telephones, mobile phones, wireless headsets, stethoscopes, and home alerting devices. Current devices suit many hearing-impaired individuals but the complex nature of hearing and hearing loss makes it difficult to meet the needs of all hearing-impaired persons with current devices. This research will work to develop new technologies that can help listeners with more difficult to fit hearing loss, such as precipitous high frequency losses and losses of neural synchrony. Studies will also explore improvements in surgical techniques for the treatment of some types of hearing disorders.
Improved techniques for hearing evaluation and the objective verification of assistive devices. The basic tool for hearing evaluation is the behavioural audiogram which measures the audibility of simple pure tone stimuli throughout the range at which speech normally occurs. The audiogram does not however, tell us how well a person understands sounds or encodes the features of complex sounds. This research will develop new ways to assess complex sound processing, both behaviourally and electrophysiologically, and ways to verify the effectiveness of assistive listening devices. Work will refine a clinical psychoacoustic test system, link behavioural and electrophysiologic measures so as to promote earlier identification and treatment, and link assistive listening devices and diagnostic technologies to aid device verification.
Acceptance of hearing technologies. An individual will only benefit from a device aimed at helping them if they seek out and purchase that device and if they are happy with the quality of the sound from the device and if they are given appropriate long term support for using that device. This work examines device use and how it can be promoted. The aim is to improve the long-term success of individuals with hearing loss who use assistive devices.
Hearing accessibility of communication environments. While much attention has recently been paid to communication environments for children in classrooms, relatively little attention is paid to communication in the workplace and in vehicles, in spite of the importance of both. Projects focus on the determinants of hearing accessibility in the workplace and how to quantify and then improve communication in vehicles.
Development of a Translational Research Unit. This Unit will provide access to research protocols, trained staff to tailor protocols to specific industrial needs and complete the data collection, expertise in data analysis, and access to large clinical populations. The goal is to link researchers and industry developers so that new technologies can be developed and evaluated more quickly and effectively.
Binaural assistive listening devices. Assistive listening devices aim to restore speech perception but their benefits in restoring auditory spatial perception are somewhat more limited and less well understood. Good binaural hearing is essential for accurate sound localization and speech perception in noisy environments. This research examines the effect of providing binaural device fittings and how to best fit those devices so as to improve spatial hearing while still providing good speech perception. Research will also examine user satisfaction with binaural fittings and how that may change over time.
For more information about M.Sc. and Ph.D. (Hearing Science) studies in the Health and Rehabilitation Sciences graduate program, please see: http://www.uwo.ca/fhs/health_rehab_sci/ or contact Dr. M. Cheesman (email@example.com).
Phonak Symposium in Pediatric Audiology
The National Centre for Audiology is proud
to host the Phonak Symposium in Pediatric Audiology
presentation by Blake Papsin (Director, Cochlear Implant
Program, Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children, and Associate
Professor, Otolaryngology - Head & Neck Surgery, U of
Toronto) on Friday, November 23, 2007 from 2:30-4:00
Dr. Scollie awarded the Early Researcher
Dr. Susan Scollie, a principal
investigator at the National Centre for Audiology has been
awarded the Early Researcher award from the province of