Recent Audiology and Speech Pathology PhD completions

Congratulations to Kerrie Plant and Agnes Au who have both now qualified for the doctorates at the University of Melbourne.

Kerrie studied outcomes for cochlear implant recipients who had considerable residual hearing in one or both ears prior to implantation.  This work is easily the most comprehensive evaluation of the complex issues that arise in clinical decision-making for these patients and her results have changed the way assess and make recommendations in the Melbourne CI clinic for this group.

Agnes studied the effects of specific cognitive skills including working memory, processing speed and other aspects of executive function, on the  speech perception outcomes of adult cochlear implant recipients.  She demonstrated a strong relationship between many cognitive skills and patient performance, but that most of these were explained by age-related effects.  Information processing speed did show some independent predictive value for speech perception as well.  As with most research, Agnes’ work raises more questions than it answers but our new projects on the effects of restoration of hearing function on age-related cognitive decline, and prediction of outcomes on a large patient cohort should provide some of the answers into the future.