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Ageing Auditory Neuroscience Clinical relevance Editorial Notes Hearing Loss Neural dynamics Uncategorized

It’s a wrap: The ERC Con­sol­ida­tor Project “Audadapt” has suc­cess­ful­ly ended

Six years in our lab with the age­ing, adapt­ing, lis­ten­ing brain and mind cen­ter-stage have come to a suc­cess­ful close.  Jonas’ ERC Con­sol­ida­tor grant had been grant­ed dur­ing the Audi­to­ry Cog­ni­tion lab’s tenure at the Max Planck Insti­tute in Leipzig orig­i­nal­ly, and it has shaped our start and set­tling-in at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Lübeck ever since 2016.

Jonas: “In total almost 500 ses­sions of behav­iour, EEG and fMRI record­ed; more than 160 brave Lübeck folks and their brains fol­lowed lon­gi­tu­di­nal­ly over two years; 25 pub­li­ca­tions put out; and not least two PhDs fin­ished and five post­doc careers kick­start­ed — I am very grate­ful for the help of all these peo­ple, my host Insti­tu­tion Uni­ver­si­ty of Lübeck and the Euro­pean Research Coun­cil (ERC) hav­ing made this all hap­pen. Thank you all.”

All data will be or are already pub­licly avail­able on OSF, and we will update our ded­i­cat­ed AUDADAPT” project page once the final report is in.

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Ageing Auditory Cortex Auditory Neuroscience EEG / MEG Hearing Loss Neural Filters Papers Publications

New paper in Nature Com­mu­ni­ca­tions by Tune et al.

We are very excit­ed to share that Oble­ser­lab post­doc Sarah Tune has a new paper in Nature Com­mu­ni­ca­tions. „Neur­al atten­tion­al-fil­ter mech­a­nisms of lis­ten­ing suc­cess in mid­dle-aged and old­er par­tic­i­pants“ is our lat­est and to-date most exten­sive out­put of the lon­gi­tu­di­nal ERC Con­sol­ida­tor project on adap­tive lis­ten­ing in age­ing indi­vid­ual (AUDADAPT — include link to https://auditorycognition.com/erc-audadapt/).

This co-pro­duc­tion with cur­rent (Mohsen Alavash and Jonas Obleser) and for­mer (Lorenz Fiedler) Oble­ser­lab mem­bers, takes an in-depth and inte­gra­tive look at how two of the most exten­sive­ly stud­ied neu­ro­bi­o­log­i­cal atten­tion­al-fil­ter imple­men­ta­tions, alpha pow­er lat­er­al­iza­tion and selec­tive neur­al speech track­ing, relate to one anoth­er and to lis­ten­ing sucess.

Lever­ag­ing our large, rep­re­sen­ta­tive sam­ple of aging lis­ten­ers (N=155, 39–80 years), we show that both neur­al fil­ter imple­men­tatins are robust­ly mod­u­lat­ed by atten­tion but oper­ate sur­prins­ing­ly inde­pen­dent of one another.

In a series of sophis­ti­cat­ed sin­gle-tri­al lin­ear mod­els that include vari­a­tion in neur­al fil­ter strength with­in and between indi­vid­u­als, we demon­strate how the pref­er­en­tial neur­al track­ing of attend­ed ver­sus ignored speech but not alpha lat­er­al­iza­tion boosts lis­ten­ing success.

To learn more, the paper is avail­able here.

Categories
Ageing Auditory Cortex Auditory Neuroscience Auditory Perception fMRI Hearing Loss Papers Perception Psychology Publications

New paper in eLife: Erb et al., Tem­po­ral selec­tiv­i­ty declines in the aging human audi­to­ry cortex

Con­grat­u­la­tions to Oble­ser­lab post­doc Julia Erb for her new paper to appear in eLife, “Tem­po­ral selec­tiv­i­ty declines in the aging human audi­to­ry cor­tex”.

It’s a trope that old­er lis­ten­ers strug­gle more in com­pre­hend­ing speech (think of Pro­fes­sor Tour­nesol in the famous Tintin comics!). The neu­ro­bi­ol­o­gy of why and how age­ing and speech com­pre­hen­sion dif­fi­cul­ties are linked at all has proven much more elu­sive, however.

Part of this lack of knowl­edge is direct­ly root­ed in our lim­it­ed under­stand­ing of how the cen­tral parts of the hear­ing brain – audi­to­ry cor­tex, broad­ly speak­ing – are organized.

Does audi­to­ry cor­tex of old­er adults have dif­fer­ent tun­ing prop­er­ties? That is, do young and old­er adults dif­fer in the way their audi­to­ry sub­fields rep­re­sent cer­tain fea­tures of sound?

A spe­cif­ic hypoth­e­sis fol­low­ing from this, derived from what is known about age-relat­ed change in neu­ro­bi­o­log­i­cal and psy­cho­log­i­cal process­es in gen­er­al (the idea of so-called “ded­if­fer­en­ti­a­tion”), was that the tun­ing to cer­tain fea­tures would “broad­en” and thus lose selec­tiv­i­ty in old­er com­pared to younger listeners.

More mech­a­nis­ti­cal­ly, we aimed to not only observe so-called “cross-sec­tion­al” (i.e., age-group) dif­fer­ences, but to link a listener’s chrono­log­i­cal age as close­ly as pos­si­ble to changes in cor­ti­cal tuning.

Amongst old­er lis­ten­ers, we observe that tem­po­ral-rate selec­tiv­i­ty declines with high­er age. In line with senes­cent neur­al ded­if­fer­en­ti­a­tion more gen­er­al­ly, our results high­light decreased selec­tiv­i­ty to tem­po­ral infor­ma­tion as a hall­mark of the aging audi­to­ry cortex.

This research is gen­er­ous­ly sup­port­ed by the ERC Con­sol­ida­tor project AUDADAPT, and data for this study were acquired at the CBBM at Uni­ver­si­ty of Lübeck.

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Adaptive Control Attention fMRI Grants Hearing Loss Uncategorized

New DFG project led by Mohsen Alavash on the Net­work Neu­ro­science of Spa­tial Attention

Con­grat­u­la­tions to our cur­rent­ly ERC-fund­ed lab mem­ber and post­doc Mohsen Alavash who has just secured 3‑year fund­ing (~380,000 €) by the Deutsche Forschungs­ge­mein­schaft (DFG) for an ambi­tious project: Mohsen wants to get clos­er to a net­work/­graph-the­o­ret­i­cal descrip­tion of how spa­tial atten­tion in the lis­ten­ing brain is organ­ised. In a lat­er stage of the project, Mohsen also plans on study­ing how the net­work organ­i­sa­tion of spa­tial atten­tion may be altered in hear­ing-impaired listeners.

We are glad that Mohsen plans on run­ning this project with­in the Obleser lab, here at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Lübeck.

Also, make sure to check out Mohsen’s lat­est pub­li­ca­tion on the topic.

Categories
Adaptive Control Auditory Neuroscience Auditory Speech Processing Auf deutsch Events Executive Functions Hearing Loss Media Speech

Jonas pre­sent­ed for the KIND Hörs­tiftung in Berlin (Video)

Im Feb­ru­ar hat­te ich die Ehre, für die Kind Hörs­tiftung auf deren 2019er Sym­po­sium in Berlin unsere Arbeit­en zur Vorher­sage des Hör­erfol­gs exem­plar­isch anhand einiger unser­er Stu­di­en all­ge­mein­ver­ständlich zu beleucht­en. Ein 25-minütiges Video dieses Vor­trags ist jet­zt online.

(In Feb­ru­ary, I had the hon­our of pre­sent­ing some of our recent work on pre­dict­ing indi­vid­u­als’ lis­ten­ing suc­cess at the sym­po­sium of the Kind Hear­ing Foun­da­tion. A video in Ger­man is now available.)

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Clinical relevance Grants Hearing Loss Job Offers

New research grant with Sivantos

Jonas and the lab are hap­py and thank­ful to announce a new research project fund­ed by Sivan­tos, Erlan­gen. We are look­ing very much for­ward to a renewed col­lab­o­ra­tion with the audi­o­log­i­cal sci­ence team around Ron­ny Han­ne­mann, begin­ning in Octo­ber 2019.

The three-year project will look into the psy­cho­log­i­cal and neu­ro­bi­o­log­i­cal chal­lenges of attend­ing and ignor­ing for nor­mal-hear­ing and hear­ing-impaired lis­ten­ers in com­plex acoustic scenes.

Categories
Auditory Cortex Auditory Perception Auditory Speech Processing Hearing Loss Papers Perception Publications Speech

New paper in Ear and Hear­ing: Erb, Lud­wig, Kunke, Fuchs & Obleser on speech com­pre­hen­sion with a cochlear implant

We are excit­ed to share the results from our col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Cochlea Implant Cen­ter Leipzig: AC post­doc Julia Erb’s new paper on how 4‑Hz mod­u­la­tion sen­si­tiv­i­ty can inform us on 6‑month speech com­pre­hen­sion out­come in cochlear implants.

Erb J, Lud­wig AA, Kunke D, Fuchs M, & Obleser J (2018). Tem­po­ral sen­si­tiv­i­ty mea­sured short­ly after cochlear implan­ta­tion pre­dicts six-month speech recog­ni­tion outcome

Now avail­able online:

https://insights.ovid.com/crossref?an=00003446–900000000-98942

Abstract:

Objec­tives:

Psy­choa­coustic tests assessed short­ly after cochlear implan­ta­tion are use­ful pre­dic­tors of the reha­bil­i­ta­tive speech out­come. While large­ly inde­pen­dent, both spec­tral and tem­po­ral res­o­lu­tion tests are impor­tant to pro­vide an accu­rate pre­dic­tion of speech recog­ni­tion. How­ev­er, rapid tests of tem­po­ral sen­si­tiv­i­ty are cur­rent­ly lack­ing. Here, we pro­pose a sim­ple ampli­tude mod­u­la­tion rate dis­crim­i­na­tion (AMRD) par­a­digm that is val­i­dat­ed by pre­dict­ing future speech recog­ni­tion in adult cochlear implant (CI) patients.

Design:

In 34 new­ly implant­ed patients, we used an adap­tive AMRD par­a­digm, where broad­band noise was mod­u­lat­ed at the speech-rel­e­vant rate of ~4 Hz. In a lon­gi­tu­di­nal study, speech recog­ni­tion in qui­et was assessed using the closed-set Freiburg­er num­ber test short­ly after cochlear implan­ta­tion (t0) as well as the open-set Freiburg­er mono­syl­lab­ic word test 6 months lat­er (t6).

Results:

Both AMRD thresh­olds at t0 (r = –0.51) and speech recog­ni­tion scores at t0 (r = 0.56) pre­dict­ed speech recog­ni­tion scores at t6. How­ev­er, AMRD and speech recog­ni­tion at t0 were uncor­re­lat­ed, sug­gest­ing that those mea­sures cap­ture par­tial­ly dis­tinct per­cep­tu­al abil­i­ties. A mul­ti­ple regres­sion mod­el pre­dict­ing 6‑month speech recog­ni­tion out­come with deaf­ness dura­tion and speech recog­ni­tion at t0 improved from adjust­ed R2 = 0.30 to adjust­ed R2 = 0.44 when AMRD thresh­old was added as a predictor.

Con­clu­sions:

These find­ings iden­ti­fy AMRD thresh­olds as a reli­able, nonre­dun­dant pre­dic­tor above and beyond estab­lished speech tests for CI out­come. This AMRD test could poten­tial­ly be devel­oped into a rapid clin­i­cal tem­po­ral-res­o­lu­tion test to be inte­grat­ed into the post­op­er­a­tive test bat­tery to improve the reli­a­bil­i­ty of speech out­come prognosis.

 

Categories
Auditory Cortex Auditory Neuroscience Brain stimulation Clinical relevance Degraded Acoustics Hearing Loss Neural Oscillations Neural Phase Papers Psychology Speech

New paper in press with the Old­en­burg brain-stim­u­la­tion crew!

AC alum­na Anna Wilsch has a new paper in press in Neu­roim­age, with Toralf Neul­ing, Jonas Obleser, and Christoph Her­rmann: “Tran­scra­nial alter­nat­ing cur­rent stim­u­la­tion with speech envelopes mod­u­lates speech com­pre­hen­sion”. In this proof-of-concept–like paper, we demon­strate that using the speech enve­lope as a “pilot sig­nal” for elec­tri­cal­ly stim­u­lat­ing the human brain, while a lis­ten­er tries to com­pre­hend that speech sig­nal buried in noise, does mod­u­late the listener’s speech–in–noise com­pre­hen­sion abilities.

The Preprint is here, … 

… while the abstract goes like this:
Cor­ti­cal entrain­ment of the audi­to­ry cor­tex to the broad­band tem­po­ral enve­lope of a speech sig­nal is cru­cial for speech com­pre­hen­sion. Entrain­ment results in phas­es of high and low neur­al excitabil­i­ty, which struc­ture and decode the incom­ing speech sig­nal. Entrain­ment to speech is strongest in the theta fre­quen­cy range (4−8 Hz), the aver­age fre­quen­cy of the speech enve­lope. If a speech sig­nal is degrad­ed, entrain­ment to the speech enve­lope is weak­er and speech intel­li­gi­bil­i­ty declines. Besides per­cep­tu­al­ly evoked cor­ti­cal entrain­ment, tran­scra­nial alter­nat­ing cur­rent stim­u­la­tion (tACS) entrains neur­al oscil­la­tions by apply­ing an elec­tric sig­nal to the brain. Accord­ing­ly, tACS-induced entrain­ment in audi­to­ry cor­tex has been shown to improve audi­to­ry per­cep­tion. The aim of the cur­rent study was to mod­u­late speech intel­li­gi­bil­i­ty exter­nal­ly by means of tACS such that the elec­tric cur­rent cor­re­sponds to the enve­lope of the pre­sent­ed speech stream (i.e., enve­lope-tACS). Par­tic­i­pants per­formed the Old­en­burg sen­tence test with sen­tences pre­sent­ed in noise in com­bi­na­tion with enve­lope-tACS. Crit­i­cal­ly, tACS was induced at time lags of 0 to 250 ms in 50-ms steps rel­a­tive to sen­tence onset (audi­to­ry stim­uli were simul­ta­ne­ous to or pre­ced­ed tACS). We per­formed sin­gle- sub­ject sinu­soidal, lin­ear, and qua­drat­ic fits to the sen­tence com­pre­hen­sion per­for­mance across the time lags. We could show that the sinu­soidal fit described the mod­u­la­tion of sen­tence com­pre­hen­sion best. Impor­tant­ly, the aver­age fre­quen­cy of the sinu­soidal fit was 5.12 Hz, cor­re­spond­ing to the peaks of the ampli­tude spec­trum of the stim­u­lat­ed envelopes. This find­ing was sup­port­ed by a sig­nif­i­cant 5‑Hz peak in the aver­age pow­er spec­trum of indi­vid­ual per­for­mance time series. Alto­geth­er, enve­lope tACS mod­u­lates intel­li­gi­bil­i­ty of speech in noise, pre­sum­ably by enhanc­ing and dis­rupt­ing (time lag with in- or out-of-phase stim­u­la­tion, respec­tive­ly) cor­ti­cal entrain­ment to the speech enve­lope in audi­to­ry cortex.