Research

In Purdue’s Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences (SLHS), faculty and students collaborate to make discoveries that define cutting-edge clinical practice and advance basic scientific knowledge related to human communication.

Research Areas

Hearing Science; Hearing Disorders

Faculty who study hearing science and disorders in the Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences focus on a variety of topics, including computational modeling, hidden hearing loss, neurophysiology and electrophysiology, psychophysics and speech perception.

Language Science; Language Disorders and Disabilities

Researchers in the Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences study language science, disorders and disabilities to advance discovery across topics such as aphasia, autism spectrum disorder (ASD), language development, language disorders, linguistics and sign language.

Speech, Swallowing and Voice Science; Speech, Swallowing, Voice Disorders

To improve quality of life and help people communicate effectively, faculty in the Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences investigate dysphagia, fluency disorders, neurogenic problems, speech and sound disorders, and voice disorders.

Center and Institutes/Laboratories

Attention and Neurodevelopmental Disorders (AtteND) Lab

The Attention and Neurodevelopmental Disorders Lab investigates attentional strengths and weaknesses in individuals who are at risk for or diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) to identify new targets for intervention as well as improve current intervention strategies. This research provides insight into how attention affects the development of social and communicative abilities in typically developing children and children with ASD.

Brandon Keehn

Aphasia Research Laboratory

The Aphasia Research Laboratory focuses on how language processing is affected by aging and acquired neurological conditions (stroke, Parkinson’s disease) and identifies the factors that facilitate language recovery in individuals with aphasia. The findings provide insight into how language is stored and processed in the brain and aid in the development of intervention approaches for people with aphasia.

Jiyeon Lee

Lab Website

Auditory Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory

When listening to speech in a noisy public place, most adults find it easier to understand the speaker if they can see the person’s face because facial movements can provide a great deal of information about speech content. However, this ability to use visual speech cues when the sound quality is poor is not present at birth and develops gradually in children. To better understand this, the Auditory Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory studies how and when children learn to use visual speech information and how their language development may be negatively affected if they fail to acquire this skill. We work with typically developing children and also with children who had delayed language acquisition.

Natalya Kaganovich

Lab Website

Auditory Electrophysiology Laboratory

The Auditory Electrophysiology Laboratory uses electrophysiological measures to understand the neural representation of complex sounds in normal and impaired ears at the brainstem and cortical levels and how these representations are shaped by experience. The long-term objective is to enhance the encoding of behaviorally relevant dimensions of sounds and determine their relative roles in the temporal structure of sound. We are also interested in evaluating the nature of the interplay between early sensory level processes and later cognitive levels of processing.

Ravi Krishnan

Lab Website

Auditory Neurophysiology and Modeling Lab

Research in the Auditory Neurophysiology and Modeling Laboratory involves the coordinated use of neurophysiology, psychoacoustics and computational modeling. This multidisciplinary approach provides a powerful framework to enhance our understanding of the effects of different types of sensorineural hearing loss on neural and perceptual responses to sound. This knowledge will be extremely valuable for developing diagnostic tests, evaluating the limitations of current hearing aids and suggesting novel strategies for hearing aids and cochlear implants.

Mike Heinz

Lab Website

Child Language Research Laboratory

In the Child Language Research Laboratory, we study how children learn to produce and understand words and sentences. We are especially interested in discovering the reasons behind why children with language impairments experience difficulties — and finding ways to help these children overcome their language learning problems. Our studies also include children who are developing language without difficulty, so we can have a clear idea of the learning patterns associated with typical development.

Laurence B. Leonard

Lab Website

Child Phonology Laboratory

Research in the Child Phonology Laboratory investigates how monolingual and bilingual children learn to produce speech sounds with the goal of developing best practices for assessing and treating children with phonological disorders. In particular, we are interested in better understanding how the ability to perceive speech sounds affects the accurate production of speech.

Françoise Brosseau-Lapré

I-EaT Lab

In the Purdue I-EaT Lab, we investigate the underlying mechanisms that control swallowing function and eating in adults and children with and without swallowing disorders (dysphagia). The primary studies involve patients with cerebral palsy, stroke and Parkinson’s disease. We aim to use this knowledge to develop and evaluate novel rehabilitative treatments that will be effective, accessible and adhered to by patients to improve their health and quality of life.

Georgia Malandraki

Lab Website

Language Learning and Meaning Acquisition (LLAMA) Lab

Because children have an exceptional ability to learn language, the LLAMA Lab explores the cognitive mechanisms that support this ability. Ongoing research topics include how children understand connections between word meanings, how general learning mechanisms and experience support speech comprehension and early markers of risk for poor language and reading outcomes.

Arielle Borovsky

Lab Website

Motor Speech Lab

The Motor Speech Lab covers a wide range of topics related to quality of life for older adults and individuals with Parkinson’s disease in an effort to treat the changes to speech and cognition that occur as a part of typical aging or as a result of aging-related diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease.

Jessica Huber

Lab Website

Neural Systems for Language Processing Lab

The Neural Systems for Language Processing Lab investigates the development and maturation of brain functions for language processing in typical and disordered speech and language, including stuttering and language impairment. The primary focus is to understand how brain functions in preschool children who stutter may differ from typically developing peers and how these differences may help predict eventual recovery or persistence of stuttering. 

Chris Weber

Psychoacoustics Lab

Research in the Psychoacoustics Lab focuses on behavioral measures of peripheral auditory processes in listeners with normal hearing and listeners with cochlear hearing impairment. We are particularly interested in studying dynamic adjustments in response to background noise and use models of auditory signal processing to connect behavior and physiology.

Elizabeth Strickland

Purdue Experimental Amplification Research (EAR) Lab

Research in the Experimental Amplification Research (EAR) Laboratory focuses on auditory processes that contribute to speech perception deficiencies in hearing-impaired listeners and hearing aid processing. Ongoing projects include work on frequency-lowering techniques, wide dynamic range compression and speech enhancement techniques.

Josh Alexander

Lab Website

Purdue Infant Speech Lab

The Purdue Infant Speech Lab explores how language comes to the child by focusing on whether measures of early speech perception, production and the input relate to later language in both typical development and in children at-risk for autism spectrum disorders.

Amanda Seidl

Lab Website

Speech Perception and Cognitive Effort (SPACE) Lab

The Speech Perception and Cognitive Effort Lab focuses on the contribution of cognitive mechanisms — such as working memory and selective attention — to understanding speech in difficult circumstances. For example, this could include a talker with an unfamiliar accent or the presence of competing sounds. We use behavioral and psychophysiological measures to assess speech understanding, cognitive effort and stress in younger and older adults (with and without hearing impairment) under a range of listening conditions. Results of this research provide insight into the cognitive foundations of spoken language understanding and contribute to improving methods for the assessment and treatment of hearing impairment in older listeners.

Alex Francis

Lab Website

Sign Language Research Lab

Research in the Sign Language Research Lab uses theoretical and experimental methods to investigate aspects of sign languages and their similarities and differences to spoken languages. Results from this research are applied to improving deaf education and the quality of life of members of the deaf community. Projects include experimental studies of sign language structure, perception and production. Our work incorporates online questionnaires, psycholinguistic methods, motion capture analysis and neurolinguistics, as well as collaboration with engineers toward automatic recognition of sign language.

Ronnie Wilbur

Systems Neuroscience of Auditory Perception Lab

Complex scenes with multiple sound sources — such as crowded restaurants and busy streets — present unique challenges for both biological and machine audition. The Systems Neuroscience of Auditory Perception Lab studies the biological computations and neural circuits that underlie auditory perception. In particular, we are interested in how we process sounds and analyze acoustic scenes in complex everyday environments.

Hari Bharadwaj

Lab Website

Voice Lab — Sivasankar Research Group

The goal of the Sivasankar Research Group is to understand why some speakers experience voice disruptions related to prolonged speaking, aging, environmental exposures and disease. We utilize a multidisciplinary approach to understand the causes of voice problems in order to better prevent and treat this common communication disorder.

Preeti M. Sivasankar

Lab Website

Join Our Research Registry

SLHS researchers study how people of all ages hear, speak and understand language to advance our knowledge of how we communicate while also helping those who struggle in these areas.  

WHO CAN SIGN UP? Our studies include healthy adults and children of all ages as well as individuals with concerns or disorders affecting their ability to speak, hear, swallow or communicate. 

HOW DO I SIGN UP? Complete the adult participant or child participant questionnaire, and you will be asked to provide some basic information so we can contact you about eligible studies. By signing up for the registry, you are expressing your interest in learning more about research opportunities. When contacted, you can make a decision whether or not to participate. You can opt out at any time by emailing SLHSRegistry@purdue.edu or calling 765-494-4229.

Child and parent in slhs clinic

Faculty by Research Area

Hearing Science; Hearing Disorders

    Language Science; Language Disorders and Disabilities

      Speech, Swallowing and Voice Science; Speech, Swallowing, Voice Disorders

        Interdisciplinary Training Program in Auditory Neuroscience

        The Interdisciplinary Training Program in Auditory Neuroscience provides graduate student training and research experience to prepare students for independent research careers that can advance understanding of auditory system function using innovative tools and technologies. Graduates of this training program will develop creative solutions, devices and strategies to assist with and prevent hearing loss.

        Communicative Disorders Training Program

        The Communicative Disorders Training Program is designed to develop the research skills of clinicians and engage basic scientists in the study of communication disorders. Through this program, we can increase the proportion of PhD researchers who make substantive scientific contributions to knowledge of the causes, diagnosis and treatment of communication disorders.