Research Impact

Researchers at the National Centre for Audiology (NCA) publish in a wide range of journals and areas connected to our common interest areas of hearing, hearing disorders, hearing technologies, and interdisciplinary research and knowledge translation aimed at improving hearing knowledge, research, and practice. In recent years, our researchers have been listed in the top five most productive accredited departments in North America, based on publication rates.

Impact in the Hearing Science and Assessment Cluster

  • Dr. Prudy Allen’s work in advanced hearing assessment has contributed novel data on the relationships between measures of neural integrity and behavioural assessment of auditory processing.
  • Dr. Brian Allman’s lab has developed behavioural measures of tinnitus in rats, allowing new discovery-based research into the brain mechanisms of this debilitating condition in an animal model.
  • Dr. Blake Butler’s lab has investigated quantitative measures of thalamic and cortical projections to the auditory cortex in an animal model, enriching our understanding of auditory brain pathways and how they are affected by deafness.
  • Dr. Ingrid Johnsrude’s work in familiarity of a talker’s voice in difficult listening situations helps to demystify the cognitive processes that we use when faced with challenges understanding our conversational partner in real world situations.
  • Dr. Ewan Macpherson has modelled the cues we use to tell the directions from which sounds arise, and developed procedures for assessment of head motion during localization. This contribution facilitates the study of sound localization in patients who have significant hearing loss, for whom traditional fixed-head procedures are not appropriate.
  • Dr. Janis Oram Cardy has developed objective measures of brain activity to sound that predict language ability and are associated with developmental language disorders.
  • Dr. David Purcell, having participated in seminal work in multiple auditory steady-state response measurement, has applied these measurement principles to lead the development of speech-evoked envelope-following response measures that hold potential to provide rapid, valid assessment of frequency-specific brain responses.
  • Dr. Susan Stanton’s research together with Dr. Terry-Lynn Young on genetic causes of hearing loss emphasizes the impact of genomics on the clinical practice of audiology and patient care.

Impact in the Hearing (re)Habilitation Cluster

  • Dr. Mary Beth Jennings’ work on the impacts of hearing loss in the workplace, and the role of stigma and self-efficacy in older adults who have hearing loss, have informed our field’s understanding of these factors, provided new clinical tools, and resulted in international research collaborations.
  • Dr. Vijay Parsa’s program of research in hearing aid sound quality has investigated a comprehensive range of technologies, to assess, model, and optimize perceived sound quality for hearing aid users. He has collaborated with an international group of experts in this field to develop a highly-cited consensus and survey paper of key methods.
  • Dr. Steve Lomber’s internationally-recognized work to map activity in the brain has paved new roads in understanding how hearing and vision interact in the cortical pathways, how impairment in these systems impact the plastic system, and how hearing restoration through cochlear implants changes cortical pathways during development.
  • Dr. Susan Scollie’s development of hearing aid prescription algorithms has resulted in systematic implementation of the trademarked DSL fitting formula for infants, children, and adults, for both air-conduction and bone-anchored hearing aids. This software system is transferred to all major manufacturers of hearing aids worldwide.

Impact in the Implementation Cluster

  • Drs. Agrawal and Parnes, as expert developers of new surgical procedures aimed at preserving hearing, participated in an impactful consensus development team to classify hearing preservation.
  • Dr. Marlene Bagatto’s papers describing the development and implementation of population-level, evidence-based protocols for early hearing detection and intervention have provided a model of care that is highly regarded in its field, and adopted worldwide. Her protocol for monitoring auditory development is integrated into clinical practice across programs.
  • Dr. Paula Folkeard’s leadership in coordination of contract research has allowed the NCA’s Translational Research Unit to thrive, completing dozens of studies spanning a wide range of topics including normative studies, field trials of hearing aids, and evaluation of self-hearing technologies.
  • Dr. Danielle Glista’s ground-breaking research in frequency-lowering signal processing in hearing aids provided the world’s first clinical trial outcomes in children, together with specific fitting procedures and novel outcome measures that are now transferred to clinical practice.
  • Dr. Hanif Ladak’s expertise in developing models of the ear and training simulators has resulted in several new training tools for use in otology and audiology programs, and two spin-off companies in the London area. His training simulators are available and used in training programs.
  • Dr. Sheila Moodie’s leadership facilitated the implementation of the CIHR model of integrated knowledge translation at the NCA. Dr. Moodie developed the Network of Pediatric Audiologists of Canada which enables co-creation and collaborative integrated knowledge translation. Dr. Moodie and colleagues have recently developed a framework of parent-to-parent support which has been adopted by the largest parent support organization in the United States. The recent release of 10 video-based counselling interventions for parents of children with hearing loss is gaining widespread uptake.

Current Research Projects

Information about current research projects can be found on the biography pages of our Investigators.

Clinical Impacts of Our Work

Previous research projects have led to the development of clinical tools and protocols. Information about these projects is listed below.