Seminar Series

The HESP Department sponsors a series of talks on current research in the areas of hearing, speech, and language by visiting researchers or members of the HESP faculty. All students, faculty, staff, and affiliates are welcome and encouraged to attend. If you would like to join the email distribution list for all upcoming HESP Seminar Series talks, email Dr. Matt Goupell at

Certification Maintenance Hours can be earned by attending these talks.

Spring 2017 Schedule 

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Dr. Nirmal SrinivasanTowson University"Understanding speech perception difficulties in complex listening environments: Individual contributions of age and hearing loss"It is well documented that older listeners have more difficulty in understanding speech in complex listening environments compared to younger listeners. In addition, hearing loss gradually occurs in most of us as we grow older. Currently, there is no way to understand the individual and unique contributions of aging and hearing loss to these deficiencies in speech perception. This talk will describe experiments that measures spatial release from masking (SRM) in simulated reverberant environments on listeners varying in age and hearing abilities. In the first experiment, release from masking was measured by comparing threshold target-to-masker ratios (TMR) obtained with a speech target presented directly ahead of the listener and two speech maskers presented from the same location or in symmetrically displaced spatial configurations in an anechoic chamber. The second experiment simulated a more realistic reverberant environment using 24 loudspeakers separated by 15° in azimuth in an anechoic chamber by calculating the directions, attenuations and delays of the reflections from a sound source. Results from both these experiments suggested that the reduction in SRM could be attributed to hearing loss alone. A third experiment was conducted with smaller spatial separations between target and maskers were used than have traditionally been implemented in SRM studies. The results from this experiment suggested that, at smaller separations (between 6°and 10°) between target and maskers, aging was a significant contributor in predicting SRM. Overall, it could be concluded that release from masking should be tested at separations smaller than what is normally tested in laboratory should be used to see the individual contributions of age to reduction in performance.LeFrak 2208


Dr. Ken GrantWalter Reed National Military Medical Center"Hidden Hearing Loss and Assessment of Functional-Hearing Deficits in Active-Duty Service Members"Exposure to sub-concussive explosive blasts can give rise to hearing difficulties without causing any significant increase in audiometric thresholds. This talk will provide an update to a multi-site prevalence study of such hearing deficits in roughly 3200 active-duty Service Members with and without a history of blast exposure. Also discussed are the results of a follow-up study designed to reveal potential causes of this functional-hearing deficit in two groups of subjects 1) normal-hearing thresholds ≤ 20 dB HL from 250-8000 Hz, no blast exposure, normal performance on an abbreviated version of the speech, spatial, and qualities of hearing questionnaire (SSQ), and normal scores on prevalence screening measures; 2) history of blast exposure, normal to near-normal hearing thresholds, and poor performance on either SSQ or prevalence screening measures.  The long-term aim is to develop a strategy to separate hidden hearing loss from other processing deficits caused by blast exposure and to design more target rehabilitation programs.LeFrak 2208




Dr. Hanin KarawaniUMD HESP"Auditory perceptual learning in adults with and without age-related hearing loss"Speech recognition in adverse listening conditions becomes more difficult as we age, particularly for individuals with age-related hearing loss (ARHL). Whether these difficulties can be eased with training remains debated, because it is not clear whether the outcomes are sufficiently general to be of use outside of the training context. The aim of the current study was to compare training-induced learning and generalization between normal-hearing older adults and those with ARHL.

LeFrak 2208



Dr. Sandra Gordon-SalantUMD HESP--LeFrak 2208


Beth Rosen UMDHESP Honors Defense-LeFrak 2208


Tiara BoothUMDHESP Honors Defense: "The effect of a foreign accent on the short-term memory of school-aged children"There is a significant amount of research that explores the way adults are affected by novel accented speech (Barker & Turner, 2014), but there is less research conducted with children. As children begin school, they have a higher chance of being exposed to novel speech,including foreign accented speech. Because children have smaller memory spans than adults, it is possible that children may have fewer resources available for factors requiring extra processingsuch as foreign accents. This study explored the effect of a Slavic accent on children between the ages of 4 and 6 years old as they conducted a short-term memory instruction task. Ultimately, the three main components explored were the effect of the accent, the children’s memory skills, and the combined interaction between accent and memory. Results showed that the participants performed worse when hearing the foreign accent and when hearing longer instructions, but therewas no interaction between the two components. Thus, while a foreign accent made speech recognition more difficult for the children, it did not affect their ability to remember information.LeFrak 2208


MA SLP StudentsUMDMA Student Data BlitzCome hear about what our MA in SLP students have been working on! LeFrak 2208


Nora LeonardUMDHESP Honors Defense-LeFrak 2208


Seminar Series Archive: 

To see a list of previous HESP Seminars click here.


Certification Maintenance Hours:

Those who attend these seminars will be awarded Certification Maintenance Hours (CMHs). A CMH is 60 minutes of time spent as a learner and participant in a non-ASHA CEU professional development activity. CMHs are different from ASHA-approved CEUs, which are also offered through the department. ASHA permits the use of CMHs for the purpose of maintaining your CCCs. However, you are responsible for maintaining documentation verifying completion of each activity. Documentation will not be maintained on the ASHA CE Registry. For additional information about CMHs and ASHA certification requirements, please click here. Please be aware that state regulatory agencies and boards of education might not recognize or accept CMHs.

Extracting meaning from auditory signals: A look at how children process variation in language