January 27, 2021. Gallaudet University, Washinton D.C.
Dr. Laura-Ann Petitto Dr. Bradley White
Professor/Science Director/Co-Pl/Co-Director Manager, Brain & Language Laboratory for Program Dev for 6th Street Project for Neuroimaging (BL2)
Congratulations to Dr. Bradley E. White and Professor Laura-Ann Petitto, who were awarded the 2021 Gallaudet University Office of Sponsored Programs Priority Research Grant. Their new study uses combined fNIRS brain imaging with thermal infrared imaging to discover answers to basic science problems in early child learning and their implications for optimal educational outcomes in young deaf and hearing children
Title: Listening Effort and Developmental Neuroplasticity in Children with Hearing Aids and Cochlear Implants
Abstract: A widely used treatment for reduced hearing across the lifespan has been a growing use of hearing aids and cochlear implants. A broad motivation for this practice is the assumption that these devices provide robust augmentation of sound, and, hence, robust access to language and reading. By contrast, new research has provided challenges to this prevailing view and has revealed that adults who experience early and protracted degraded auditory processing, as made available from sound augmentative devices, show changes to the human brain’s neural structures underlying language processing. In turn, this has been demonstrated to have deleterious impact on adults’ language and higher cognitive processes. In this novel study of children, we seek to discover answers to basic science problems in early child learning and their implications for optimal educational outcomes in young deaf and hearing children. We ask what is the impact of protracted use of hearing aids and cochlear implants on learning in young children, especially language, reading, executive cognitive functions, and the emotional self-perceptions of effort and ease that impact a child’s sustained attention for optimal learning. The findings will render relevant new knowledge important for deaf and all children, advance Gallaudet University research priorities, and contribute to innovations in the nation’s educational policies for young deaf and hearing children.