Fulbright scholar visits the Institute

Professor Ruth Litovsky, a 2014 Fulbright Senior Scholar, is visiting the Institute for six months to work with Institute researchers on bilateral cochlear implant projects and imaging brain plasticity in cochlear implant users. Ruth’s research focusses on the importance of binaural hearing – the ability to combine information from the two ears.

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 Professor Ruth Litovsky 

Binaural hearing allows us to localize sounds in space and also contributes to speech understanding in noisy environments, helping us to hear a particular voice amongst many.

Ruth’s particular research interest has been the emergence of binaural hearing in very young children. She has developed state-of-the art techniques to assess auditory perception and has improved the understanding of how early deafness affects binaural hearing in children and adults.

During her time at the Institute Ruth will be working with Professor Colette McKay on a new non-invasive brain imaging technique to assess the contribution of brain plasticity to varying speech understanding outcomes in cochlear implant users. She will also be working with Dr James Fallon who recently received an NHMRC grant to examine how speech understanding outcomes of bilateral cochlear implant users can be improved.

Professor Litovsky said, “The Bionics Institute is a premier institute for research in auditory prostheses, which is my area of research. I chose to spend my sabbatical here because the scientists are interesting and interactive. They are world-class researchers who integrate the need to solve medical issues with the quest for scientific discovery.”

Professor Litvosky currently holds joint appointments in the Departments of Communication Sciences and Disorders, and Surgery/Division of Otolaryngology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (USA).

The Fulbright Program is the largest and one of the most prestigious educational scholarship programs in the world, operating between the United States and 155 countries worldwide. Since its establishment in 1949, the Australian-American Fulbright Commission has awarded scholarships to approximately 4,800 scholars, and promotes and supports educational and cultural exchange between the two countries.

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