PhD degree successfully defended by Florine Bachmann

Friday 04 Mar 22
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Jens Hjortkjær
Associate Professor
DTU Health Tech
+45 30 29 16 90

On February 18, Florine Bachmann successfully defended her thesis "Subcortical electrophysiological measures of running speech".

The defense took place at the Technical University of Denmark with the two external members of the assessment committee present online. In her PhD thesis, Florine Bachmann presents different studies on neural processing of continuous speech in both normal listeners and in elderly people with hearing loss.

 

Responses to sound from the auditory brain stem are routinely used in hearing diagnostics and are typically collected with short tones or click sounds. Florine’s thesis presents ways to obtain neural measures with continuous natural speech and discussed the potentials for using speech stimulation in hearing diagnostics and research. The thesis discusses how to model these neural responses with different acoustic features of the speech signal and examines the test-retest reliability of the response measurements when recorded in older listeners with hearing loss. Finally, the thesis compares speech-responses in different parts of the auditory system between listeners with or without hearing loss. Florine shows that while responses in early processing stages are reduced with hearing loss, later cortical stages compensate or even enhance parts of the response. Importantly, Florine could show that the response enhancement with hearing loss occurs even when the speech stimulus is not amplified to account for the hearing loss. Her results can help to advance this new technique for hearing diagnostics or as a novel way to assess hearing aid processing with ecologically relevant stimuli.

 

Florine’s presentation of her PhD research at the defense was well-organized and clear. The committee found the thesis to be clear and well written. They found her results to be both innovative and novel and particularly relevant for audiological applications.

Supervisors:
Principal supervisor: Associate Professor Jens Hjortkjær
Co-supervisor: Associate Professor Ewen MacDonald
Co-supervisor: Professor Nathalie Giroud

Examiners:
Associate Professor Bastian Epp, DTU Health Tech
Associate Professor Samira Brake Anderson, University of Maryland
Professor Tobias Reichenbach, Friedrich-Alexander-University

Chairperson at defence:
Associate Professor Tobias May

Photo: Sam Watson