Hearing Aids Laboratory

Improving Communication for Older People

Our research is focused on improving hearing communication for older people. We study the effects of cognitive aging and age related hearing loss on people’s ability to perceive speech. In our studies we focus on both the effects of bottom up (peripheral hearing) and top-down (central processes) processing on older people’s ability to perceive speech and successfully use hearing aids. The long-term goal of our work is to increase the benefit and satisfaction that older people receive from wearing hearing aids and using other assistive listening devices.

PHAST-R Now Available

We developed the Practical Hearing Skills Test-Revised (PHAST-R) as a clinical tool to be used by clinicians to objectively measure a hearing aid user’s ability to perform tasks representative of critical hearing aid use and care functions.  The original PHAST-R includes eight items that assess hearing aid skills typically taught to new hearing aid users during their hearing aid orientation. A clinician rates the hearing aid user’s performance on each of the eight PHAST–R tasks, and the software then automatically computes an overall performance score. The results from the PHAST-R can quickly identify specific hearing aid functions for which a hearing aid user needs further counseling and training. More information on the PHAST-R is available here.

The newest version of the PHAST-R is currently being updated and will be available in September, 2021. This version will address rechargeable hearing aids, manufacturer applications, and bluetooth connectivity.