René H. Gifford, Ph.D, CCC-A, is a professor in the Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences with a joint appointment in the Department of Otolaryngology. She is currently the Director of the Cochlear Implant Program at the Vanderbilt Bill Wilkerson Center as well as the Associate Director of Implantable Hearing Technologies. Her current research interests include combined electric and acoustic stimulation (EAS) with cochlear implantation, hearing preservation with cochlear implantation, preoperative prediction of postoperative outcomes with implants, speech perception for adults and children with cochlear implants, and spatial hearing abilities of individuals with unilateral and bilateral cochlear implants. Dr. Gifford currently is the principal investigator (PI) on two large NIH R01 grants centered on cochlear implants. One of the R01 grants aims to study the efficacy of hearing preservation in the implanted ear for speech perception in complex listening environments as well as for localization. The other R01 grant is investigating the clinical application of spectral resolution for assessing auditory function preoperatively as well as the utility of a clinical tool of spectral resolution for implant ear selection. Dr. Gifford is also a co-PI on an R01 aimed to examine speech perception in realistic listening environments for individuals with bimodal hearing and bilateral cochlear implants. The goal of that project is to develop a clinical tool that would assist clinicians in deciding when a patient is ready to obtain a second cochlear implant. Dr. Gifford has published over eighty peer-reviewed articles and book chapters, and she authored a book in 2013 entitled “Cochlear Implant Patient Assessment: Evaluation of Candidacy, Performance, and Outcomes.” When not in the lab, clinic, or classroom, she enjoys spending time with her husband, three sons, and two dogs, as well as daydreaming about getting more sleep.
Professor, CI Lab Director