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Welcome to the Speech Perception and Cognition Research Laboratory!

Research at the Speech Perception and Cognition Lab (SPAC Lab) is motivated by the overarching goal of improving the communication ability of older adults with age-related hearing loss. Many older adults have difficulty understanding speech under adverse conditions, such as noisy environments or group conversations. The challenges from these conditions can be further aggravated by age-related health issues, such as hearing loss and cognitive decline.

As a group of hearing researchers, we study the complex perceptual and cognitive mechanisms that serve older adults’ speech perception under adverse conditions. The outcome of our work may provide the foundation for developing audiological assessments and interventions that effectively reflect listeners’ experience and performance in real-life communication scenarios.

The research in the SPAC Lab addresses this problem based on multiple lines of work:

  • Perceptual and cognitive mechanisms in older adults’ speech perception under adverse conditions   
  • The interplay between hearing loss and cognitive difficulty in the aging cohort and its impact on clinical services  
  • Speech perception outcome measures that capture the online processing of speech with fine-grained time sensitivity 
Hearing test in a study protocol


We are grateful to have support for our work from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. 

Opportunities for older individuals  

We are interested in working with older individuals with and without hearing loss who would like to participate in research. All of our research participants are compensated for their time and offered counseling about their auditory abilities as part of their involvement in our studies.

 For information on our current research projects, please contact us at