Assistant Research Professor
Dept. Hearing and Speech Sciences
Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN 37212
Ben Hornsby is an assistant professor in the department of hearing and speech science at Vanderbilt University. He teaches both Audiology and Speech Language Pathology students (courses include Psychoacoustics, Speech Perception and Hearing Loss, and Hearing Disorders and Assessment). In addition to teaching he conducts research investigating factors, both subject specific and environment specific, that affect the communicative and speech understanding abilities of persons with hearing loss.
Past and current research activities in this area include: 1) examination of the effects of higher-than-normal presentation levels of speech on speech understanding (given that persons with hearing loss are forced to listen to through hearing aids at higher-than-normal levels), 2) the benefits and limitations of amplifying different frequency regions of speech information for persons with various degrees of hearing loss, 3) the role of “informational masking” (difficulties understanding speech due to “similarity” between the target speech and distracters, i.e. other talkers) in limiting speech understanding for some persons with hearing loss.
In addition to identifying factors that affect speech understanding, his research also focuses on methods for reducing the impact of these factors on speech understanding of persons with hearing loss. Research in this area focuses on the design, implementation and efficacy of hearing aids and other auditory prosthetic devices, as well as designing and evaluating protocols that are used to adjust hearing aids for specific individuals. Past and current research activities in this area include: 1) evaluation of different hearing aid signal processing techniques on speech understanding and listening comfort, 2) examination of benefits provided by “state of the art” directional microphone technology in real rooms in the presence of differing types of background noise stimuli, and 3) assessing the efficacy of measuring individual loudness growth functions for use in the hearing aid fitting process.
When not in the lab you may find Ben, at least on sunny days, at a nearby rock climbing area or busy with his real passion, enjoying the company of his wife (Becky) and two children (Emily and Christopher).