CURF Introduction: Singing and Hearing with Cochlear Implants

Hi, all! My name is Grace Oh, and I am a senior majoring in communication science in the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences (SHRS). I’m also minoring in creative writing (fiction track). One fact about me is that I have a fraternal twin sister named Gloria, and we love reading Christian books and being outdoors.

As a senior in the last semester of my undergraduate career, I will soon be embarking on a more or less familiar educational path of attending graduate school, and specifically, in pursuing an AuD degree. As someone who has had hearing loss since infancy, I’m thankful to have been able to receive treatment and therapy from audiologists and speech-language pathologists throughout my childhood and adolescence; without their care and expertise, I would not be in the position to communicate as well as I do. I hope to become a pediatric audiologist who is able to work collaboratively with other healthcare professionals to provide comprehensive care and treatment to patients. It is also my plan to continue participating in research throughout my graduate studies, particularly in studying the pediatric population in relation to aural rehabilitation. Being a CURF recipient, I will be able to work with children who use cochlear implants (CIs), as well as be able to interact with professionals from other disciplines. This will provide a great opportunity to understand and become more knowledgeable of children who have severe to profound hearing loss.

Speaking of research, I volunteer in Dr. Sheila Pratt’s Pediatric Audiology and Auditory Rehabilitation lab. Our project for the CURF will focus primarily on studying pediatric CI users who attend the DePaul school. We will be studying pitch perception or discrimination of voice and tones, auditory feedback when singing well-known melodies (i.e., Happy Birthday) while maintaining vocal control, and auditory stream segregation in musical tones. From this study, we aim to understand how children fitted with CIs process these different types of information. In the current research literature, studies pertaining to this information, especially in the pediatric population, are wanting. The results from this study may be able to contribute to the lack of literature in this area, as well as provide more information about cochlear implant technology and how we can further improve these devices for young patients.

Within the communication science and disorders (CSD) field, research is an essential component for all members regardless of area of expertise. Particularly for practicing clinicians, research provides a fundamental aspect of evidence-based practice (EBP), which is usually incorporated in providing appropriate services for each individual’s needs and desires. Research also provides clinicians and providers access to a library of knowledge and new information that can be applied to their practices, treatments, and learning.

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