Psychoacoustics and Experimental Audiology

We study basic auditory perception, with an important focus on spatial hearing. Tested populations include normal-hearing (NH) listeners and listeners suffering from complete or partial hearing loss. In such cases cochlear implants (CIs) can restore auditory sensation by electrical stimulation of the auditory nerve.

Our main goal is to extend knowledge about basic phenomena and the underlying mechanisms. We often steer our questions so that addressing them can contribute to new approaches for better hearing, e.g., in challenging listening situations.

We apply both behavioral (e.g., psychophysical) and “objective” (neuroscience) measures. Objective measures include electroencephalography (EEG), pupillometry, or eCAPs (electric compound action potentials with CIs). Furthermore, our studies are often based on theoretical models and/or results are predicted by quantitative models.

Important branches of our research are binaural hearing and 3-D localization, the latter involving the vertical dimension and phenomenon of sound externalization.  Other topics include masking phenomena (such as time-frequency masking or masking release), auditory grouping, and contextual localization.

Our Lab Facilities allow the measurement of listener-specific head-related trabnsfer functions (HRTFs) and the creation of virtual binaural acoustics by filtering sounds with HRTFs and presenting the signals via headphones. Our setup for sound-localization experiments includes a real-time virtual visual environment, allowing the study of arbitrary manipulations of spatial cues combined with audio-visual interactions. A Loudspeaker Array Studio is (LAS) available for sound-field measurements/experiments. For controlled experiments with bilateral or monolateral CI listeners, we use a research interface (RIB2) that enables direct and binaurally highly controlled stimulation of implant electrodes.

Completed Projects