Job Offer: Master’s or Doctoral student|CRIR-IURDPM

Master’s or Doctoral student

Research Theme

Exploring the use of temporal cues for the optimization of speech processing, perception, and comprehension.

General description

In the aging population, most individuals suffer from hearing impairment where hearing aids are commonly used to improve communication by amplifying sounds. Although this method makes speech audible, by making it sufficiently loud, it does not make it clear especially in noisy environments. It is known that aging populations have increasing cognitive decline which is largely ignored by the current amplification algorithms. Cognitive capacity can be evaluated by measuring auditory timing which is an essential part of understanding speech. It is critical for the perception of the temporal envelope and fine structures of speech sounds at all intensity levels. Research has shown that the temporal envelope affects speech intelligibility in situations where the contextual cues are low, for people with severe hearing loss and for those with lower cognition. Currently, hearing aids use hearing thresholds of the audiogram to determine the necessary gain or amplification needed for an individuals hearing loss. However, there are no individual prescriptive methods for the onset/offset of amplification, known as compression time. The onset of the compressor (attack time) is the time it takes for the hearing aid to amplify a sound, and the offset time (release time) is the length of time to return to the original sound level. Studies have shown that the length of attack and release time can have an impact on the speech scores of those with lower cognitive capacities. This research program aims to develop, for the first time, individual EEG measures of auditory timing which can be used to program hearing aid compression time. The longterm goal of this research program is to develop a more inclusive standard for developing amplification algorithms that take into account cognitive impairment. This will be achieved by conducting studies on aging individuals, with age-related cognitive decline, using EEG measures of auditory timing in silence and in noise.

Results from these studies will lead to further work in speech-in-noise performance using word recognition tasks and by applying these algorithms to a variety of devices such as various models of hearing aids (i.e. behind-the-ear, receiver-in-the-canal, customs, in-the-canal, in-the-ear etc.), cochlear implants, and bone-anchored hearing aids. This research will have a major impact on hearing aid technologies as it opens a new perspective on using auditory timing to account for cognitive differences in hearing aid users. Developing more inclusive hearing aids that are suitable for cognitive impairment will benefit millions of aging Canadians by decreasing their social isolation and increasing their cognitive health and quality of life.

Offer Information

  • Program of study: Speech-language pathology, audiology, biomedical sciences or psychology.
  • Discipline : Clinical research, Audiology, Electrophysiology, Hearing aid technology.

Requirements

  • A bachelor’s degree (B.Sc.) or master’s degree (M.Sc.) in health sciences, biomedical sciences, psychology (neuropsychology) or a related field.
  • Advanced level of French and English.
  • Professional and intellectual rigour.
  • Research or clinical experience with human participants is an asset.
  • Interest in electrophysiology research and hearing.
  • Applicants must be Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Quebec or hold a visa allowing them to study in Quebec.

Scholarship

Stipends will be awarded based on amounts determined by provincial funding agencies if the applicant’s applications are not successful..

Submit your application

  • Expected start date of the project : January 2023
  • Procedure: Applicants should send their curriculum vitae, transcripts and two references to victoria.duda@umontreal.ca before July 30, 2022
  • Deadline: July 30, 2022

Learn more

Note: CRIR values equity, diversity and inclusion and invites applications from Indigenous people, members of visible and ethnic minorities, women and persons with disabilities. Persons with disabilities can also share with us their specific needs with respect to the selection process for the job being solicited to facilitate their application. We thank everyone for their interest in this role. However, we will only contact those whose applications will be selected.