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,

Double auditory seminar: Dr. Monita Chatterjee, Dr. Karen Gordon, 30 May


Very happy to host two prominent names in cochlear implant research at our next auditory seminar:

Perceiving & producing lexical tones/emotional prosody with cochlear implants: Emerging ideas and unproven hypotheses
Dr. Monita Chatterjee
Boys Town National Research Hospital, Omaha, United States

Unilateral deprivation in children is not a “minimal” hearing loss: Evidence from measures of brain plasticity
Dr. Karen Gordon
The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Canada

Date: Tuesday 30 May 2023
Time: 14:00-16:00
Location: De Brug 2.060, UMCG

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


Special session at ASA Meeting in Chicago May 2023, “Perception beyond tones and speech in normal and impaired hearing: Voice, emotions, and music perception”

184th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America (ASA) is in Chicago (May 8-12, 2023).

We are organizing a special session,  “Perception beyond tones and speech in normal and impaired hearing: Voice, emotions, and music perception.” This session will be co-sponsored by the Psychological & Physiological Acoustics (P&P) and the Speech Communication (SC) Technical Committees. We are excited for the opportunity to bring together wonderful speakers from around the world to present current work on these topics, emphasizing the importance of studying hearing impairment from a broader perspective.

Co-organized by Deniz Başkent, Tyler Perrachione,  and Gin Best.



Laura Rachman’s lecture on emotion recognition, at Congres Partners in Verstaan, 21 April 2023

Emotion recognition is important for development and speech communication but we still know little about it for children with hearing loss. Do you want to know more?

Dr. Laura Rachman from Pento Audiologisch Centrum Zwolle and affiliated with our lab will be giving a talk at Congres Partners in Verstaan 2023 on emotion recognition in children with hearing loss.

The talk is in the parallel session 2, 21 April 223.



Deniz’s talk on speech perception by children with hearing loss, ARO Midwinter Meeting, Feb 2023

How do children with hearing aids deal with understanding speech with other interfering speech in the background? And children with cochlear implants?

Deniz will be presenting our recent results with both groups of children at the upcoming ARO Midwinter Meeting, in February 2023, in Florida. The results are eye opening. In short, while the overall picture is optimistic, not all children do well to the same degree, and some have great difficulties. In cochlear-implanted children, some children perform better than implanted adults. So, we have so many more questions to follow up!

Research with children in general, but with hearing loss in particular, is challenging. All tests need to be modified to fit the attention span of children, and with all the other obligations, such as school, hobbies, clinical visits, they are already full in their agenda’s and at times very tired. Perhaps as a result of this, relevant literature seems limited. On the other hand, this research is also very rewarding. The hearing devices often work differently for children than adults. While research with adults is very valuable, we also need to know these differences to better serve the needs of children. And for this, we need to continue providing this kind of research-based evidence.

The data Deniz will be presenting is a result of a number of projects conducted over many years, where we first had to find out the right tests, and then the right interfaces, and then work around children’s and their parents’ very busy schedules, and then also combine our expertise from many different fields. Many researchers spent hours on the road to visit the children at their homes or schools, to not disrupt their daily lives.

Every single data point is a valuable one from hours and hours of efforts from participants, parents, researchers, and sometimes even teachers. We are grateful to all. We also appreciate funding from many resources for this project of similar children’s projects (NWO (Dutch Research Council), ZonMw, Sonova Group, Phonak, UMCG, University of Groningen) and we hope to be able to continue this important work, especially now that we have the right tools and expertise.

The co-authors and many more who had contributed to this research in earlier stages:
Laura Rachman, Leanne Nagels,  Petra Hendriks, Debi Vickers, Etienne Gaudrain. Gonca Sennaroğlu, Gizem Babaoğlu, Pınar Ertürk, Basak Ozkisi Yazgan, Bert Maat, Rolien Free, Iris van Bommel, Evelien Birza, Jop Luberti, Paolo Toffanin, Jacqueline Libert, Jemima Phillpot.

Lecture at the Scientific Symposium by the Student Organisation G.F.S.V. Pharmaciae Sacrum, MeloDIES in Audiology

Deniz gave a lecture at the Scientific Symposium organised by the Student Organisation G.F.S.V. Pharmaciae Sacrum, coinciding with the 141st anniversary of the organisation. The topic was MeloDIES in Audiology.

Deniz talked about our music training project where we use a newly developed method of piano learning (developed by Robert Harris and PI Ellie Harding), where we teach the method to the piano teachers and they teach it to users of cochlear implants. We only have data now to see if this training can provide measurable benefits, but regardless, already it is a great reward to see how this method works and our participants can enjoy playing music.

Also kudos to the students at the event. All the questions were excellent, each on an important research topic either we are busy with or we should be busy with. Such interactions are so inspirational, and the thank you gift is just the cream of the cake.

Thanking the organisers once more for this invitation, and all of our collaborators (Rolien Free, Bert Maat, Barbara Tillmann, Etienne Gaudrain) and funding (Dorhout Mees Stichting, NWO – Dutch Research Council.