VICI GRANT in the news: UMCG KennisInzicht


Foto: Henk Veenstra

Our new VICI project on voice and speech perception in normal and impaired hearing is featured at the UMCG newsletter Kennisinzicht. It covers all the highlights of what we want to do — how we want to understand both the basic science behind voice perception in relation to speech understanding and how we want to make use of this knowledge to help hearing-impaired individuals. The fun sub projects involve using Sam the robot for more efficient and fun testing and training.

For more details, the link to the KennisInzicht article is here.

27 June 2017: Dr. Robert Harris, Prince Claus Conservatoire

Action-oriented predictive processing: grasping the aural world 

Date: 27 June 2017, 14:00
Location: UMCG, room P3.270 (near KNO Department)

Broadcasting link:

Dr. Robert Harris
Lifelong Learning in Music
Hanze University of Applied Sciences
Prince Claus Conservatoire

Current models of brain function indicate that sensory input is not only processed in two anatomically and functionally separate pathways, but that perception is the product of a predicting brain and not purely a representation of the input to which it has access. Sensory modalities are furthermore intertwined, making not only synesthesia possible in rare instances, but also the expropriation of neural resources as in the SMARC effect. The use of instrumental music training to enhance the hearing of cochlear implant recipients builds on these models by promoting the implicit acquisition of ideomotor associations between musical pitch, tone color, volume, and hand movement. 


23 June 2017: Dr. Lars Riecke, Univ. Maastricht

Neural entrainment to speech modulates speech intelligibility ?

Date: 23 June 2017, 15:00
Location: UMCG, Panoramazaal, U4.123

Broadcasting link:

Dr. Lars Riecke
Department of Cognitive Neuroscience
Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience
University of Maastricht

Speech entrainment, the alignment of neural activity to the slow temporal fluctuations (envelope) of acoustic speech input, is ubiquitous in current theories of speech processing. Associations between speech entrainment and acoustic speech signal, behavioral listening task, and speech intelligibility have been observed repeatedly. However, a methodological bottleneck has prevented clarifying whether speech entrainment functionally contributes to speech intelligibility. Here, we addressed this issue by experimentally manipulating speech entrainment in the absence of systematic acoustic and task-related changes with a novel approach that involves stimulating listeners with transcranial currents carrying speech-envelope information. Results from two experiments involving a cocktail party-like scenario and a listening situation devoid of acoustic envelope information show consistently an effect on listeners’ speech-recognition performance, demonstrating a causal role of speech entrainment for speech intelligibility. This finding supports entrainment-based theories of speech comprehension and suggests that transcranial stimulation with speech envelope-shaped currents can be utilized to modulate speech comprehension.


Travel grant for Nawal CIAP 2017

Nawal El Boghdady received a travel grant from CIAP 2017 organization. She will present our collaborative work with Waldo Nogueira and Florian Langner from Hannover Medical Center and co-funded by Advanced Bionics, “Improving speech perception in cocktail-party situations for cochlear implants.”

Leanne’s talk at AMLaP 2017

Leanne Nagels’s submission “Lexical access in cochlear implant users” to AMLaP 2017 is upgraded to a podium talk. The work was supervised by Dr. Anita Wagner and conducted in collaboration with Prof. Roelien Bastiaanse (Neurolinguistics). Congratulations!

9 June 2017: Prof. Dr. Hartmut Meister, Univ of Cologne

Assessment of audiovisual speech recognition in cochlear implant recipients- why and how?

Date: 9 June 2017, 14:00
Location: P3.270 (near KNO Department)

Broadcasting link:

Prof. dr. Hartmut Meister
Head Audiology Research
Jean Uhrmacher Institute for Clinical ENT-Research
University of Cologne

In their early days, cochlear implants (CI) served as aids for lip-reading. Due to technical and medical progress and the development of elaborated rehabilitation programs many CI users show near perfect speech understanding without visual cues these days. Nevertheless, audiovisual (AV) speech is still important since visual cues are generally helpful in every-day communication. Thus, assessing different CI-processing schemes or fittings using AV speech reveals high ecological validity. Moreover, CI recipients typically show better lip-reading abilities than their normal-hearing peers and AV integration might be different in these populations.

However, assessing AV speech recognition is not a simple matter since validated speech material is scarce and establishing an AV speech corpus is costly and time-consuming. An alternative approach is using common speech-audiometric material and supplementing the visual modality by applying an avatar.

I will give an overview of our experience with the use of avatars during AV speech assessment, discuss opportunities and limitations and give examples for the implementation in cochlear implant research.