The American Academy of Audiology New Investigator Award is funding our collaborative project exploring sensory integration in individuals with hearing impairments (Dr. Kristi Buckley, PI; Dr. Michael Schutz, co-investigator). As part of Dr. Buckley’s large-scale project on hearing impaired populations, we are exploring the weighting visual cues amongst the hearing impaired in a naturalistic audio-visual integration task – the “marimba illusion”. By correlating the magnitude of the illusion with the magnitude of hearing loss as well as susceptibility to the well-known “McGurk effect,” we aim to better understand issues surrounding hearing impairments. This work will extend the basic research on auditory and music perception carried out in the MAPLE lab to inform clinical explorations of an important issue affecting one in three adults over the age of 60 – and half of those over 85.
This project parallels our collaborative work with researchers at the University of Rochester exploring sensory integration disorders in individuals with autism spectrum disorders (funded by the National Institutes of Health). Together, these projects will not only inform clinical treatments for conditions affecting a significant number of children and adults (as well as their care-takers, medical staff, and family members), but will also shed light on core issues of theoretical importance in the field of sensory integration.