Focusing on a task amidst distracting sounds is a common experience – one that we, as adults, may not consider particularly challenging. However, recent findings from our lab show that even healthy, young adults must work hard to ignore distractors when completing a listening task. Referred to as ‘listening effort’, adults may not notice this increased work; however, children are much more susceptible to the negative consequences of effortful listening (e.g., degraded performance, listening-related fatigue). Considering that typical classroom environments are filled with potential distractors (e.g., children passing notes amidst an algebra lesson, noisy footsteps in the hallway), it is important to understand the consequences of distraction in school-age children. Our lab is particularly interested in children who are Deaf or hard of hearing, as they are twice as likely to be distracted in classrooms as their peers who have typical hearing abilities. The purpose of this project is to measure the effect of distractors on speech perception and listening effort in children with typical hearing and in children who are Deaf or hard-of-hearing. This work will explain the role that distraction plays in children’s communication breakdowns, particularly those who are Deaf or hard-of-hearing. This research could expand our ability to predict which children are at risk for communication challenges in the classroom so that we can evaluate the efficacy of appropriate clinical and educational interventions.
Volunteer, This is a paid research position, This is a work-study research position, Prepare a UROP proposal, Write an Honors Thesis or Senior Thesis, Earn independent study credit