All posts by Laura Rachman

Auditory seminar: Dr. Evelien Dirks, 18 January 2024

Early development and intervention in children with hearing loss
Dr. Evelien Dirks
NSDSK, Amsterdam
Utrecht University, Developmental Psychology

Abstract: For children with hearing loss, the early years represent a critical period during which exposure to linguistic input, social interactions, and auditory stimuli significantly influences their development. Identifying hearing loss early and implementing interventions in the form of amplification and family-centered early intervention can mitigate potential developmental delays. In her research, Evelien Dirks examines the language, social-emotional and cognitive development in young children with hearing loss. Since caregivers have an essential role in the early years of child development, parent-child interactions in association with child development are at the core of her research. By using eye-tracking technology and video coding software she gains deeper insight in the early interactions between children with hearing loss and their parents, revealing the impact of these exchanges on child development. In order to enhance child development and foster positive parent-child interactions, she developed interventions and assessed their impact. In this seminar Evelien will present her research on young children with hearing loss and will discuss the outcomes.

Date: Thursday 18 January 2024
Time: 10:00-11:00
Location: P3.270 (Blauwe Patio), UMCG

For information and to sign up for the e-mail list please contact drs. Karen Castaño González,

Auditory seminar: Alina Schulte, 16 November 2023

How vibrotactile speech input can enhance speech intelligibility and the exploration of its neural correlates
Alina Schulte
Eriksholm Research Center, Denmark
Hannover Medical School, Germany

Abstract: Vibrotactile stimulation has been found to benefit both normal-hearing individuals and cochlear implant users in improving speech intelligibility. Our work replicates this finding and suggests that the effect is not purely driven by enhanced attention toward the auditory stimulus, but indeed, the informational content of the tactile signal plays a role in the outcome of speech intelligibility. This suggests that the human brain is able to integrate both sensory stimuli into a unified speech percept. To test this hypothesis and how the tactile signal may influence unimodal speech processing, we used functional near-infrared spectroscopy. I will present our behavioral findings and provide insights into my journey towards uncovering the neural correlates of audio-tactile speech perception.

Date: Thursday 16 November 2023
Time: 09:00-10:00
Location: W4.002 (Dormitorium), UMCG

For information and to sign up for the e-mail list please contact drs. Karen Castaño González,

Auditory seminar: Dr. Aaron Wong, 5 October 2023

Hearing more than sound: Understanding multisensory integration in the inferior colliculus
Dr. Aaron Wong
Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam

Abstract: Sensory stimuli do not occur in isolation. Our brain constantly analyzes the information from different sensory modalities (e.g., hearing, vision, touch) and combines them to give us a complete picture of the environment. While multisensory integration is traditionally attributed to higher order regions in the cerebral cortex, subcortical structures such as the inferior colliculus in the auditory system have both the circuitry and information required to perform this function. I recently demonstrated that neurons in the shell region of the IC (sIC) are modulated by motion, and can potentially integrate incoming non-auditory information. However, it is still largely unknown what non-auditory information is passed onto the sIC, or how its local circuitry integrates this information with ascending auditory information. Using advanced in vivo microscopy in awake mice, I have recently revealed the tonotopic organization of this region. In a separate study, I have utilized large scale single unit recordings in the IC and a novel behavioral paradigm to understand how neuronal activity relates to behavioral detection of amplitude-modulated sound. I aim to capitalize on these technical advances, and combine them with novel viral tracing and optogenetic techniques to answer how the inferior colliculus performs multisensory integration. Focusing on the somatosensory input in the IC, I will attempt to answer these three key questions: 1) Anatomy: How are somatosensory inputs connected to and within the IC? 2) Physiology: What information do these somatosensory inputs carry? 3) Behavior: How do somatosensory inputs change the perception of sound by the animal? Answer to each of these key questions will provide insight into multisensory integration by the inferior colliculus, and ultimately, that auditory perception is much more than just hearing sound already at the often overlooked subcortical level.

Date: Thursday 5 October 2023
Time: 14:00-15:00
Location: Rode Zaal, UMCG

For information and to sign up for the e-mail list please contact Joëlle Jagersma,