Noise exposure can lead to permanent damage of synapses that link cochlear hair cells to the auditory nerve, but leave hair cell function intact. For this reason synaptic damage can go undetected from standard clinical tests of thresholds, such as the audiogram, although individuals with cochlear synaptopathy may report difficulty with listening in noise or with competing sources. I am working on behavioural and electrophysiological tests, interpreted through computational modeling of the inner ear, that can detect “hidden” synaptic losses in individuals with otherwise clinically “normal” hearing.
Tinnitus is the phantom perception of a sound for which there is presently no cure or effective treatment. My research in tinnitus has focused on three areas: (i) objective diagnosis of tinnitus for use in humans and validating animal models (ii) relationship of tinnitus to cochlear synaptopathy (iii) the relationship of tinnitus and the ability to attend to sounds in the environment.
The Perception of Music, Rhythm, and Timing
In a previous life I explored music, emotions, and the perception of rhythm and timing. Please see publications for more information.