Welcome to the Cognitive Hearing Laboratory! We are a part of the Department of Psychology at Ryerson University.
The Lab opens in January 2021! We’re still working on building our website, so please visit soon to see new content.
Our primary goal is to understand how the ability to hear shapes the way our brain works. Although our brains have tens of billions of neurons, the most important and meaningful signals for many people—the voice of a loved one, a favourite song—pass through a bank of only 3,500 sensory cells inside the ear. After this point, a remarkable cascade of electrical and chemical processes shape and transform these signals into complex and widespread patterns of brain activity that influence thinking, remembering, actions, and how we feel.
A main focus of the lab is hearing loss. Knowing that we only have a few thousand sensory cells in the ear is a poignant reminder of how delicate and important our hearing is. Some of these cells are inevitably and permanently lost during aging, but abuse of our ears through noise exposure and other trauma will accelerate this process. We now understand that the loss of hearing can drastically change how a person chooses to live their life, and particularly affects memory, attention, communication, and emotional well-being. At the end, we want to instantiate change that gives people the option to have a healthy and fulfilling life using an evidence-based and hearing-focused approach.