Welcome to the Cognitive Hearing Laboratory. We are a part of the Department of Psychology at Ryerson University.
Our goal is to understand how the sense of hearing shapes the way that our brain works. The ear is a remarkably complex system with functions that affect our behaviours, the way we think about information and remember it, and how we use other senses like touch and vision. The knowledge we gain from our research helps us to improve a person’s health and well-being, to develop technologies that help human communication, and to design spaces in which we live, work, and recreate.
A main focus of the lab is hearing loss. 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. 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.