My postdoctoral work at UCL looked at the potential implications of hidden hearing loss. Hidden hearing loss, or cochlear synaptopathy, refers to damage to the synapses connecting the inner hair cells in the cochlea to the auditory nerve. Crucially, this type of damage does not necessarily result in any changes in audiometric thresholds. Animal studies have shown that this damage can arise as a consequence of noise exposure or ageing. While evidence for hidden hearing loss in humans is emerging, it remains challenging to measure non-invasively. In addition, its consequences for auditory processing remain unclear. In particular, we are investigating the effects of hidden hearing loss on auditory temporal processing and speech perception in noise.
I also worked on a project with Dr Sriram Boothalingam at the University of Wisconsin-Madison examining whether the auditory efferent system may play a protective role against hidden hearing loss.