Focus of Lab

The primary focus of the Hearing Aid Research Laboratory is to evaluate the benefits derived from high-end signal processing, and user satisfaction with amplification. Other areas of research interest in the laboratory include perceived sound quality in individuals with cochlear hearing loss, and electroacoustic characteristics of hearing aids. The laboratory is equipped with a large double walled sound booth, loud speaker arrays in horizontal plane, dedicated signal generation and presentation hardware and software, audiometers, real ear verification equipment, and a KEMAR. Two dedicated computers are used for programming hearing aids from all major manufacturers.

We also work with the hearing aid industry to conduct efficacy and benchmarking studies on existing and emerging technologies.

In addition to research, the hearing aid laboratory is used for technical teaching in graduate level amplification courses. Other educational uses of the laboratory include electroacoustic evaluation of hearing aids, hands-on practice with hearing aid fitting software; acoustic signal processing, ear mold modification, and hearing aid repair/troubleshooting.


  • Ayasakanta Rout, Ph.D., Director
  • Lakshmi M.S., PhD. student
  • Chelsea Barry, AuD Student
  • Cori O’Shaughnessy, AuD Student
  • Leanne Browning, AuD student
  • Dakota Sharp, AuD student
  • Sara Wagner, AuD student
  • Abby Compton, AuD student
  • Victoria Whitney, Graduate Assistant


  • Joseph Smaldino, Ph.D.,

Current Projects

  • Benchmarking digital signal processing algorithms in hearing aids.
  • Subjective and Objective measure of listening effort and fatigue
  • Comparison of mid-level and high-end digital hearing aids – subjective and objective measures
  • Development and validation of an attitude toward hearing aid scale (Co-investigator: Joseph Smaldino)

Recent Graduates

Hollis T. Leidy (2016)
Audiologist, Michigan Ear Institute.
Dissertation: Listening effort in workers at noisy workplaces

Kaitlyn A. Dawes (Sabri) (2015)
Audiologist, Otolaryngology Associates of Fairfax, VA
Dissertation:  Evaluation of speech intelligibility and sound quality with a frequency lowering algorithm.

Beth I. Hulvey (2015)
Clinical Assistant Professor, University of South Carolina
Dissertation:  The effects of increased listening effort on reaction time of normal hearing listeners

Elizabeth A. Ripley (May 2014)
Kansas University Medical Center, Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery
Dissertation:The effects of auditory and visual distracters on the toleration of background noise in hearing-impaired listeners.

Lauren M. Shastany (May 2013)
Dissertation:The effects of auditory and visual distracters on the toleration of background noise in normal hearing listeners.

Justine A. McDermott (May 2013)
Audiologist, Otolaryngology Associates of Fairfax, VA
Dissertation:The effects of auditory, visual, and vibrotactile feedback on preferred iPod listening levels.

Sara A. Conrad, AuD (2012)
Private Practice and Special Olympics Virginia Healthy Hearing Coordinator
Dissertation:  Perceived occlusion and comfort in receiver-in-the–ear hearing aids.

Jennifer S. Mundorff, AuD (2011)
Private Practice Audiologist
Dissertation:  The Effect of Speaking Rate and Style on Acceptable Noise Level in Listeners with Hearing Loss.

Sheena K. Tatum (Jessee)  (2011)
Clinical Assistant Professor, Indiana University, Bloomington
Dissertation:Subjective and Objective Analysis of Wind Noise Reduction Algorithms in Hearing Aids.

Melissa A. McNichol (2010)
University of Virginia Medical Center, Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery
Dissertation:The Effect of Audiovisual Cues on Speech Understanding in Adverse Listening Environments

Phillip K. Bond, Au.D. (2010)
Audiologist, Veterans Administration Hospital, Beckley, WV
Dissertation:Comparison of Speech understanding and sound quality through microphone and telecoil inputs.

Sarah K. Severs (Sporck), Au.D. (2010)
Clinical Audiologist, Virginia ENT
Dissertation:Effect of Real Ear Verification on Hearing Aid Benefit and Satisfaction.

Jennifer J. Goldman, Au.D.  (2009)
Private Practice
Dissertation:The Effects of Testing Method, Target Stimuli and Attention on Acceptable Noise Level in Normal Hearing Listeners

Sara L. Billari, Au.D. (2009)
Audiologist, Veterans Administration Hospital, Newport News, VA
Dissertation:Outcome Measures of Audient Foundation Hearing Aids at James Madison University Clinic

Lori E. Hanline, Au.D. (2008)
Dissertation:Objective and Subjective Evaluation of Noise Reduction in Digital Hearing Aids

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