Bioacoustics and the architecture of human hearing

Statistics: Nicholas Horton, (Amherst College)
Engineering: Susan Voss, (Smith College)

One long-term project aims to use emissions from the inner ear to monitor non-invasively changes in intracranial pressure (ICP). We make distortion product otoacoustic emission measurements on both normal subjects and hospitalized subjects who are undergoing invasive ICP monitoring. This work requires both new strategies for defining and lowering the noise floor and optimizing how the magnitude and phase of the responses are combined into a single clinically-relevant measure. A second long-term project aims to include ear-canal based acoustic reflectance measurements in newborn hearing screening protocols with the goal of determining when middle-ear fluid prevents an accurate assessment of inner-ear function. This project relies on a mathematical model for understanding the response of the ear, and analyzes the results from a statistical perspective.