David Purcell, PhD


  • PhD (Toronto)
  • BASc, MASc (Waterloo)

Graduate Program Supervision

  • Health and Rehabilitation Science MSc | PhD
  • Graduate Program in Neuroscience MSc | PhD

Research In Profile

Professor Purcell has an interest in developing objective measures of how the brain processes speech sounds. His recent work has explored the brain’s response to speech sounds using the envelope following response (EFR) elicited by individual vowel formants. He is working towards using these responses in validating newly fit hearing aids in very young listeners.

Featured Publications and Projects

Chapters and Reports

  • Purcell, D.W. & Easwar, V. (2023 publisher date; released late fall 2021). Episode 2: Brainstem Responses to Complex Stimuli – Frequency and Envelope Following Responses, pages 196-206 within Chapter 6, Evoking Responses of the Central Auditory System: Testing the Brainstem. In J. Durrant, C. Fowler, J. Ferraro, S. Purdy (Editors), Basic Concepts of Clinical Electrophysiology in Audiology, Plural Publishing Inc., San Diego. ISBN13: 978-1-63550-175-9
  • John, M.S. & Purcell, D.W. (2008). Chapter Two: Introduction to Technical Principles of Auditory Steady-State Response Testing. In G. Rance (Ed.), Auditory Steady-State Response: Generation, Recording and Clinical Applications, Plural Publishing Inc., San Diego, 11-53. ISBN13: 978-1-59756-161-7
  • Purcell, D.W. & Dajani, H. (2008). Chapter Three: The Stimulus-Response Relationship in Auditory Steady-State Response Testing. In G. Rance (Ed.), Auditory Steady-State Response: Generation, Recording and Clinical Applications, Plural Publishing Inc., San Diego, 55-82.

Articles in Peer-Reviewed Journals

  • Easwar, V., Aiken, S., Beh, K., McGrath, E., Galloy, M., Scollie, S., Purcell, D. (2022, Aug. 24). Variability in the estimated amplitude of vowel-evoked envelope following responses caused by assumed neurophysiologic processing delays. Journal of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology, JARO (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10162-022-00855-1
  • Coughler, C., Hamel, E.M., Oram Cardy, J., Archibald, L. M. D., Purcell, D.W. (2021, June 18). Compensation to altered auditory feedback in children with developmental language disorder and typical development [Special Issue 2020 Conference on Motor Speech]. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 64(6S), 2363-2376. https://doi.org/10.1044/2020_JSLHR-20-00374
  • Easwar, V., Banyard, A., Aiken, S., Purcell, D.W. (2018, Sept. 21). Phase-locked responses to the vowel envelope vary in scalp-recorded amplitude due to across-frequency response interactions. European Journal of Neuroscience, 48(10), 3126-3145.
  • Easwar, V., Purcell, D.W., Aiken, S.J., Parsa, V. & Scollie, S.D. (2015). Evaluation of speech-evoked envelope following responses as an objective aided outcome measure: Effect of stimulus level, bandwidth, and amplification in adults with hearing loss. Ear & Hearing, 36(6), 635-652. [Article won the 2015 American Auditory Society’s Ear & Hearing Editor's award for outstanding contribution to the literature on Hearing and Balance.].
  • Mitsuya, T., MacDonald, E.N., Munhall, K.G. & Purcell, D.W. (2015 July). Formant compensation for auditory feedback with English vowels. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 138(1), 413-424. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.4923154

Visit Google Scholar for a comprehensive list of publications.

Current Grants and Research Projects

  • Purcell, D. (2019-2024). Discovery Grant Renewal: Investigating the Generation of Envelope Following Responses Elicited by Vowels. Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC). $235,000.

Featured Graduate Student Projects

Visit Scholarship@Western for a list of completed student theses and dissertations available in the repository.

Graduate Student Opportunities

Professor Purcell is currently accepting students for MSc and PhD, as well as combined MClSc/PhD in Health and Rehabilitation Sciences. Topics are consistent with the Research in Profile brief above. Please contact purcelld@nca.uwo.ca for information.

Additional Information

Academic Appointments and Research Affiliations


  • Faculty Scholar Award: 2019-2021
  • Ontario Early Researcher Award: 2009-14
  • Western Green Award: 2012
  • University Students’ Council Teaching Honour Roll Award of Excellence: 2008, 2011
  • Faculty of Health Sciences Recognition of Excellence (in Teaching): 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2018, 2019

Professional Activities

  • International Evoked Response Audiometry Study Group Council