Dorothea Wendt

Scientist, PostDoc

Objective Measures of Cognitive Hearing – Listening attention (EEG)

Measuring brain activity using EEG and Ear-EEG is applied in our research to learn more about listening attention and cognitive load in people with hearing impairment.

In everyday life, we are constantly challenged to follow our conversational partner and suppress other unwanted sounds. Regardless of the listening situation, whether it is a busy office, crowded restaurant or congested street, sound reaching our ears is not from our conversational partner only. The conversation is accompanied by other unwanted sounds.

Whereas listening in such challenging situations can be difficult even for listeners with intact hearing, people with hearing loss are notorious for their difficulties in attending and understanding their conversational partners. Hearing devices are supposed to help the listener to better receive and attend the speech from their conversational partners.
Our main objective in this part of our research is to understand when hard of hearing individuals fail to attend and understand the speech in different listening situations and to evaluate the effectiveness of hearing devices and their signal processing, which are supposed to help the user understanding desired speech.


EEG helps understand hearing and attention

For these reasons, we work on developing new methods and outcome measures to evaluate the impact of the signal processing of hearing devices using electroencephalography (EEG) signals. 
Our primary focus is on the everyday listening situations, where more conventional speech in noise tests might be insensitive, i.e. high signal-to-noise-ratios and high speech intelligibility.

We hear with our brains, not just with our ears. Electrophysiological signals, the measurements of our brains’ activity, have been used to better understand hearing and attention in different listening tasks and to develop new outcome measures. 
Within the field of cognitive hearing science, brain responses have been demonstrated to be modulated by auditory attention and to assess the cognitive load. Within our group, EEG and in/around-Ear-EEG is applied to learn more about listening attention and cognitive load in people with hearing impairment. 

Learn More

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    Neural Speech Processing During Selective Listening in an Audio-Visual Monologue vs. Dialogue Paradigm
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    Speech-intelligibility and sound-quality benefits of hearing aids over PSAPs in a blinded laboratory study

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    The Effect of Noise on the Selective Attention