Research

Research

Research is an important part of any university program. It stimulates students to pursue answers to academic or clinical questions using a scientific approach. Students have the opportunity to work hand in hand with the principal investigators to develop their research skills. Research also benefits the patients with hearing loss that we see in our clinics. The information that we learn from these research projects makes us better able to serve those patients coming to us for help with their communication problems.

 

Current Projects

Dealing with Hearing Loss: A Qualitative Exploration of Adult Children of Parents with Hearing Loss

  • Principal investigator: Dr. Jill Preminger, PhD

The purpose of this project is to describe third-party disability experienced by adult-children as a result of hearing impairment in a parent. We are also interested in the role of the adult child in their parent's hearing healthcare. This project has 3 phases:

  • Phase 1 was the qualitative evaluation of the purpose.
  • Collaborators include
    • Raquel Heacock, AuD, University of Louisville Class of 2018
    • Joe Montano, EdD, Professor of Audiology in Clinical Otolaryngology, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, NY
    • Tine Tjørnhøj-Thomsen, PhD, Department of Health and Social Context, National Institute of Public Health, University of Southern Denmark, Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Preminger, J.E., Montano, J.J., & Tjørnhøj-Thomsen, T. Adult-children's perspectives on a parent's hearing impairment and its impact on their relationship and communication. International Journal of Audiology 2015; 54: 720-726. PMID: 26083719
  • Heacock, R.M., Montano, J.J., & Preminger, J.E. Adult-children's perspectives on their role in their parent's hearing healthcare processes. Journal of the American Academy of Audiology. (in Press)
  • Phase 2 is a quantitative examination of the findings found in phase 1
  • Collaborators include
    • Raquel Heacock, AuD, University of Louisville Class of 2018
    • Joe Montano, EdD, Professor of Audiology in Clinical Otolaryngology, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, NY
  • Heacock, R., Montano, J.J., Preminger, J.E. (April 2018). Adult Children's Perspectives on Their Role in Their Parent's Hearing Health-Care Process. Poster presentation at the American Academy of Audiology Annual Meeting, Nashville, TN.
  • Phase 3 is a qualitative exploration of perceptions of members within the same family regarding hearing disability and hearing healthcare in order to determine the congruence or incongruence of family members' thoughts, roles, and experiences and to being to determine if these factors may or may not influence outcomes of auditory rehabilitation.
  • Collaborators include
    • Raquel Heacock, AuD, University of Louisville Class of 2018
    • Joe Montano, EdD, Professor of Audiology in Clinical Otolaryngology, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, NY
    • Christopher Lind, PhD, Master of Audiology Program, Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia

 

Will an Internet-Based Self-Management Program Increase the Uptake of Audiology Services in Adults with Unaddressed Hearing Impairment? A Feasibility Study

  • Principal investigator: Dr. Jill Preminger, PhD

The aim of this project is to develop a proof-of-concept internet-based intervention to increase the percentage of adults who visit an audiologist after failing a hearing screening. We are using principles of the Health Belief Model, of Self-Management, and of Participatory Development in order to design the program. We will conduct a feasibility study to determine the acceptability, implementation, and the limited efficacy of the program.

  • Collaborators include
    • Laura Galloway, AuD, University of Louisville
    • Rebecca Smith, AuD Student, University of Louisville
    • Keira Glasheen, AuD Student, University of Louisville
  • Smith, R.J., Rothpletz, R.M., Galloway, L.N., Glasheen, K., Preminger, J.E. (April 2018). Applying Principles of Participatory Design to Create iManage (My Hearing Loss). Poster presentation at the American Academy of Audiology Annual Meeting, Nashville, TN

 

Exploring Obstacles: Audiologists' Insight on Delays in Identification and Intervention of Children with Hearing Loss

  • Principal investigator: Dr. Jill Preminger, PhD

The overarching goal of each family of a child with hearing loss, and each audiologist that works with that family, is to achieve success; however, the definition of success can vary among audiologists and families. In this qualitative analysis we focus on the vision of success as defined by the audiologist, and the audiologist's perceptions as to reason why success is not always achieved in a timely manner. 

  • Collaborators include
    • Raquel Heacock, AuD, University of Louisville Class of 2018
    • Allison Morton, AuD, University of Louisville Class of 2017
    • Michelle King, MS, University of Louisville Class of 1981
  • Morton, A., King, M., Preminger, J.E. (April 2017). Audiologists' Insight on Delays in Identification and Intervention of Children with Hearing Loss. Poster presentation at the American Academy of Audiology Annual Meeting, Indianapolis, IN

 

Emotion and informational masking

  • Principal investigator: Dr. Shae Morgan, PhD

This project focuses on the ability of emotion to distract from a listener’s ability to focus on what a speaker is saying. Imagine two people having a conversation and an individual nearby begins to shout, laugh, or cry. This project examines the attentional, auditory, and other mechanisms involved in processing such a complex auditory scene.

 

Emotional ratings of non-emotional speech

  • Principal investigator: Dr. Shae Morgan, PhD

Talkers often exaggerate or emphasize their speech to overcome barriers to communication. This research project examines how individuals are perceived when they do so. Beyond looking at clear speech, I’m beginning to examine the perceived emotional state of talkers with foreign accents and other vocal qualities (e.g., disordered speech).

 

Prosody detection thresholds

  • Principal investigator: Dr. Shae Morgan, PhD

Some information in speech is carried by the tone of the voice (i.e., prosody), while some information is only in the linguistic content (i.e., what’s being said). This project will identify detection thresholds of prosody using emotional stimuli to determine the difference between when a person can understand the emotional state of a talker relative to the meaning of the words spoken by the talker.

 

Otitis media light therapy

  • Principal investigator: Dr. Shae Morgan, PhD

 As concerns of antibiotic resistance increase, alternatives to antibiotic treatment should be considered. In this research, we consider the use of a blue-spectrum light as a method to kill bacteria present during an ear infection rather than antibiotic use. Openly seeking collaborators in biology, medicine, engineering, and medical innovation.


 Refining wideband acoustic immittance testing in newborns

  • Principle investigator: Dr. Hammam AlMakadma, AuD, PhD
  • Collaborators: Beth Rosen, AuD Student, University of Louisville

In the first two days of life, outer ear vernix and residual middle ear mesenchymal tissue obstruct the conductive pathways of sound. The presence of these naturally occurring substances impacts the outcomes of newborn hearing screening tests and contributes to delays in diagnosis of permanent congenital hearing loss. Assessment of the conductive pathways of newborns at birth can improve the timeliness of diagnosis/intervention for newborns with hearing loss.

The goal of this line of research is to improve the assessment of conductive pathway in newborns using wideband acoustic immittance (WAI). Testing with WAI provides a comprehensive and more realistic view of the function of the conductive pathway, than single-tone admittance testing with tympanometry. 

  • Current areas of investigation include:
    • Development and validation of criteria for proper probe-tip fit
        • Proper fitting of the probe tip in the ear canal is important for obtaining uncontaminated measurements. Given the small dimensions of newborn ears, and frequent head movement, it is important for clinicians/hearing screening technicians to determine whether measurements are contaminated by improper fitting or probe-tip slippage. 
        • The goal of this project is develop and validate WAI-based criteria to alert the tester when measurements are affected by improper probe tip fits. 
      • Characterization of normal WAI responses
        • One issue that affects the sensitivity and specificity of WAI measures in detection of conductive pathway alteration is the large normative range.
        • The goal of this project is to investigate various approaches in which normal responses can be detected and assessed. Identification of normal responses based on unique characteristics may circumvent the issue of large norms.
    Use of wideband acoustic immittance in differential diagnosis of otologic diseases
    • Principle investigator: Dr. Hammam AlMakadma, AuD, PhD
    • Collaborators: Dr. Jerry Lin, MD, PhD
    Assessment of the middle ear over a wide range of frequencies provides a more complete picture of its function and its resonant properties than testing at a single discrete frequency. This is one reason WAI testing can be superior to traditional tympanometry testing in the diagnosis of otologic diseases. Measures of the WAI are sensitive to settle and etiology-specific changes in the middle ear function. 
    The overarching goal of this line of research is to develop clinical protocols including WAI testing that would improve pre-surgical diagnosis of otologic pathology.
    • Areas of investigation include:
      • Diagnosis of ossicular pathologies in adult patients undergoing surgical intervention