Professor Bob McMurray Key Contributor in $12M NIH P50 Grant

Monday, November 6, 2017 - 11:30am

The latest National Institutes of Health grant supporting research by the Iowa Cochlear Implant Clinical Research Center, led by Dr. Bruce Gantz, the Brian F. McCabe Professor of Otolaryngology, has the potential to develop a better understanding how the brain processes speech and noise and impacts higher-level language processing.

Professor Bob McMurray is co-PI—with Tim Griffith of Newcastle University—of the Central Auditory Integration and Plasticity sub-project, which aims to understand the cognitive and neural bases of hearing-impaired listeners’ ability to detect complex auditory objects in noisy environments, arguably the most important deficit faced by such listeners. This understanding will help improve cochlear implantation criteria, refine signal processing strategies, develop new outcome measures, and identify the cause of poor outcomes when they lie in cognitive or neural processing rather than in the auditory input.

McMurray is also PI on the Cognitive Dynamics of Language Processing project, which seeks a better understanding of the cognitive mechanisms by which hearing-impaired listeners (including cochlear implant and hearing aid users) map the auditory signal to meaning, and how these mechanisms adapt to compensate for poor input. This will improve cochlear implantation criteria, outcome measures, post-remediation therapies, and signal-processing strategies in cochlear implants and hearing aids.

The grant, funded by the National Institutes of Health/National Institutes of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, will provide $12.3 million over five years.

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