Current Research Studies

  • Modeling Auditory Responses and Behavioral Outcomes in Preterm Infants - "Baby Ears Study"

    PURPOSE:  The purpose of this study is to learn how the auditory system develops in premature and high-risk infants that had to stay in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and how that affects their overall development. 

    DETAILS: Babies participating in this study will receive 5 hearing tests over the first year of life.  The first two tests will be completed in the NICU while the remaining tests will be completed as an outpatient. When the babies are seen in the lab, they will undergo middle ear tests, otoacoustic emission (OAE) testing, auditory brainstem response (ABR) testing, and behavioral evaluations.  In addition, babies participating in this study will receive several developmental evaluations to look at motor skills, cognitive development, and language development.

    The link below also contains further information about this study.

    Baby Ears Information.pdfBaby Ears.jpg                                        















  • PURPOSE:  This study monitors hearing loss progression in the pediatric population. This is a joint project with The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and Boston Children's Hospital.

    DETAILS:  The Audiological and Genetic Database (AudGenDB) is a multi-center medical and research database that supports qualified researchers studying pediatric hearing health. Pediatric audiograms from the Vanderbilt Medical Center are analyzed to describe and define progressive hearing loss in children. Pure tone air and bone conduction audiometry, middle ear impedance, speech testing, otoacoustic emissions, and ABR results are compared within and between subjects. Findings and methods used from the Vanderbilt pediatric cohort will be applied to the larger AudGenDB database.

    CONTACT:  For more information regarding this study, please contact Linda Hood, PhD at (615) 936-6920.

  • PURPOSE: This study aims to develop improved neonatal hearing screening methods using novel testing procedures combining air and bone conduction testing for hearing loss detection.  The long-term goal of this research is to develop a method for infant testing that will better detect mild hearing losses and differentiate between sensorineural and conductive components in a time-efficient manner.

    DETAILS:  A new method for simultaneous air and bone conduction hearing screening using Auditory Steady-State Responses (ASSR) combined with an Intensity-Ramping technique was developed.  In this study, ASSR principles are extended to simultaneous presentation of stimuli via air conduction and bone conduction, in a dual-transducer condition, while varying the stimulation intensity using an increasing and decreasing intensity ramping function for air and bone conduction, respectively.  


  • PURPOSE: To evaluate the sensitivity of two different stimuli (tonebursts and chirps) on ABR measurement in persons with sensorineural hearing loss and find the best methods for testing hearing in infants and individuals who cannot provide behavioral responses using brain wave tests.

    DETAILS:  Adult participants with mild to moderately severe flat or sloping sensorineural hearing loss were tested.  The subjects underwent a baseline hearing evaluation as well as auditory brainstem response (ABR) testing.   


  • PURPOSE:  This study aims to evaluate and overcome the current limitations in presentation paradigms used to elicit the medial olivocochlear reflex (MOCR) in infants and adults.  To overcome these limitations, noise management will be a focus as well as different simulus paramaters such as spectral vs. temporal presentation methods.        

    DETAILS:  Adults will be tested in the lab and undergo a baseline hearing evaluation and MOCR testing using various stimuli and intensities.  Infants will be tested while inpatient in either the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) or the well-baby nursery and will undergo MOCR testing using various stimuli and intensities.  For both populations, an efferent activator will be presented ipsilaterally.


  • Purpose:  To investigate the use of sensitive methods in characterizing auditory function related to middle ear and the cochlea in different age groups.  

    Details:  Adults will be tested in the lab and will undergo baseline hearing testing and novel middle ear muscle reflex testing methods, including wideband acoustic immittance testing.  

  • PURPOSE:  The purpose of this study is to understand how the Zika virus (ZIKV) effects the developing central auditory system.  This project will extend the scientific knowledge of auditory function and its relationship with language development in ZIKV-exposed children through longitudinal characterization of trajectories of auditory neural responses and language abilities.

    DETAILS:  Children with be tested using subjective and objective methods.  Testing will include audiometry, middle ear tests, otoacoustic emission (OAE) testing, and testing for neural responses from the brainstem and cortex.  Expressive and receptive language, cognitive function, and development will be assessed as well.  

  • PURPOSE:  To develop a clinically applicable test method that allows a comprehensive view of the auditory pathway through the cortex, in both adults and infants.  Late Latency Auditory Steady-State Responses (LLASSRs) would be recorded by combining the benefit of of low modulation frequency stimuli with the objective responses derived from steady-state stimuli.

    DETAILS:  Adults will be tested in our lab and will undergo a baseline hearing evaluation and LLASSR testing.  Infants will be tested in the lab, well-baby nursery, or neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) using the LLASSR paradigm.