Professor in Psychology Receives a Two-Year Grant

Aaron Seitz, a professor of psychology, has received a two-year grant from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, one of the National Institutes of Health, to study “brain training for central auditory dysfunction after traumatic brain injury.”

The more than $150,000 grant will allow Seitz, and co-PI Frederick Gallun at the National Center for Rehabilitative Auditory Research (NCRAR), to develop and test a novel rehabilitative auditory training program.

“In this project we integrate contemporary knowledge of auditory neuroscience, perceptual learning, and modern game design to develop and test novel auditory training therapies in normally hearing participants and those with traumatic brain injury,” Seitz said.

Aaron Seitz

Participants in the research will use “Listen,” an auditory training game available on iTunes and that the UCR Brain Game Center, which Seitz leads, developed.

“This game trains the auditory cortex to better process complex sounds,” Seitz said. “It targets neuroplasticity in the auditory system to improve processing of complex sounds.”

Seitz explained that auditory dysfunction can lead to isolation and depression due to difficulty in understanding speech, and that the collaboration with NCRAR provides an opportunity to test the potential of Listen in helping individuals with traumatic brain damage who suffer from auditory dysfunction.

“Veterans, for example, are often left to cope with auditory dysfunction, which has no accepted treatments,” he said. “Our research’s ultimate goal is to find solutions for these veterans’ hearing.”

A successful crowdfunding campaign on funded the development of Listen and, in turn, the successful submission of the current grant.

-Iqbal Pittalwala

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