College of Engineering @ USF College of Behavioral & Community Sciences @ USF
Global Center for Hearing and Speech Research

Discovery, Prevention, Therapeutics. One of the Global Center's main R&D strategies is to combine the knowledge and practices of multiple scientific and clinical research disciplines to attack the highly prevalent, complex communication and biomedical problems of hearing impairment, deafness, age-related hearing loss, communication systems, speech perception, and voice quality. These multiple disciplines include audiology, bioengineering, biochemistry, biomedical imaging, cellular and molecular biology, electrical engineering, electrophysiology, gene therapy, genetics, microsystems engineering, neurophysiology, neuroanatomy, psychoacoustics, signal processing, speech science, and voice science.

Recent Findings

GCHSR research programs fundamentally address key ear-brain relations necessary to advance the science that underlies hearing and speech deficits and disorders, thereby bringing us closer to clinical advances and novel translational applications. Among the GCHSR team's recent findings:

    • The feedback system from the brain to the ear, which modulates inner ear – cochlear - information processing of speech sounds, declines with age in humans and other mammals, starting in middle age.
    • Consistent with this decline of the feedback system, difficulties understanding speech in background noise and perception of speech-sound temporal (timing) features starts to decline in middle age.
    • Progestin/Progesterone, one of the two female sex hormones used in hormone replacement therapy (HRT) increases hearing loss in older women (and aging female mice).
    • Type II diabetes can accelerate presbycusis – age-related hearing loss.
    • Age-linked declines in aldosterone, the main hormone that regulates sodium and potassium ions in the body, correlate with severity of presbycusis.
    • New microsystems approaches have been developed for precise delivery of therapeutic compounds to the inner ear.