Skyler G. Jennings, AuD, PhD, CCC-A portrait
  • Adjunct Faculty, Neuroscience Program
  • Adjunct Associate Professor, Surgery
  • Associate Professor, Communication Sciences & Disorders
  • Associate Professor, Communication Sciences & Disorders

Research Statement

The long-term goal of my research is to understand how the auditory system and brain process sound in noisy backgrounds to achieve robust speech understanding. My current projects center on the hypothesis that efferent feedback automatically calibrates the auditory system to the ever-changing acoustic soundscape. This hypothesis predicts that individuals with cochlear hearing impairment suffer from an inability to adapt to new acoustic environments, since loss of outer hair cell (OHC) function is expected to negatively influence an important efferent subsystem called the medial olivocochlear (MOC) reflex. Despite physiological evidence linking MOC activity to improved signal-to-noise ratios, behavioral studies in humans have yet to provide compelling results to support this claim. This lack of evidence provides the impetus for my recent research interests and activities.

 

Research Keywords

  • Auditory Perception and Psychoacoustics
  • Auditory Physiology
  • Computational Models of the Auditory System
  • Speech Perception and Processing
  • Pediatric Auditory Assessment

Presentations

  • Chen J, Jennings SG, (2020). “Comparison of Cochlear and Brainstem/Cortical Following Responses Evoked by Amplitude-modulated Tones in Normal-hearing Adults” Forty-third Annual Midwinter Meeting of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology (San Jose, California). Poster, Presented, 01/2020.
  • Jennings SG (2019), “Does Olivocochlear Efferent Feedback Improve Perception of the Temporal Envelope?” presented to The Boston University Hearing Research Center (Boston, Massachusetts). Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 10/2019.
  • Jennings SG, Chen J, (2019). “Masking of short tones in noise: Evidence for envelope-based, rather than energy-based detection” One-Hundred Seventy-Seventh Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America (Salt Lake City, Utah). Poster, Presented, 05/2019.
  • Chen J, Simpson MJ, Jennings SG, (2019). “Simultaneous Measurement of Electrocochleography and Ear Canal Pressure in Normal-Hearing Humans” One-Hundred Seventy-Seventh Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America (Louisville, Kentucky). Presentation, Presented, 05/2019.
  • Chen J, Simpson MJ, Jennings SG, (2018). "Effects of High-level Contralateral Noise on Simultaneous Measurement of Electrocochleography and Ear Canal Pressure in Normal-Hearing Adults" Forty-second Annual Midwinter Meeting of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology (Baltimore, Maryland). Poster, Presented, 02/2019.
  • Chen J, Simpson MJ, Jennings SG, (2019). “Effects of High-level Contralateral Noise on Simultaneous Measurement of Electrocochleography and Ear Canal Pressure in Normal-Hearing Adults” Forty-second Annual Midwinter Meeting of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology (Baltimore, Maryland). Poster, Presented, 02/2019.
  • Jennings SG (2018) "Acoustic Priming Improving Perceptual and Neural Intensity Resolution in Humans" presented to The University of Rochester Hearing Research Group (Rochester, New York). Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 12/2018.
  • Jennings SG (2018). “Electrocochleography: Classic and Innovative Applications,” presented to The Utah Speech-Language-Hearing Association (Salt Lake City, Utah). Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 03/2018.
  • Jennings SG (2018). “Effects of a noise precursor on signal-to-noise ratios measured from the human auditory nerve” Forty-first Annual Midwinter Meeting of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology (Baltimore, Maryland). Poster, Presented, 02/2018.
  • Jennings SG (2017). “Humble Suggestions from a Previous Lessons for Success Attendee,” presented at The Fifteenth Annual Lessons for Success of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (Rockville, MD) . Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 03/2017.
  • *Chen J, Jennings SG, Ahlstrom JB, Fultz SE, and Dubno JR (2017). “Amplitude Modulation Detection with a Short Pure-tone Carrier: Effects of a Noise Precursor and Hearing Loss” Fortieth Annual Midwinter Meeting of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology (Baltimore, Maryland). Poster, Presented, 02/2017.
  • Jennings SG (2016). “Hidden Hearing Loss: The Effects of Noise Exposure and Aging,” presented to Spring Audiology Symposium of Inter-mountain Universities (Salt Lake City, Utah). Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 05/2016.
  • Morgan SD, Jennings SG, and Ferguson SH (2016). “Perceived emotion in clear speech: Effect of simulated hearing loss” One-Hundred Seventy-First Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America (Salt Lake City, Utah). Poster, Presented, 05/2016.
  • Chen J, and Jennings SG (2016). “Evaluating whether increment detection at mid-to-high pedestal frequencies is consistent with cochlear compression” One-Hundred Seventy-First Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America (Salt Lake City, Utah). Poster, Presented, 05/2016.
  • Almishaal A, and Jennings SG (2016). “Effects of a precursor on amplitude modulation detection are consistent with efferent feedback” One-Hundred Seventy-First Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America (Salt Lake City, Utah). Poster, Presented, 05/2016.
  • Jennings SG (2016). “Hidden Hearing Loss: The Effects of Noise Exposure and Aging,” presented to The Utah Speech-Language-Hearing Association (Provo, Utah). Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 03/2016.
  • Jennings SG (2015). "Efferent Influences on Auditory Performance in Background Noise," presented to The University of Utah Inner Ear Research Group (Salt Lake City, Utah). Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 06/2015.
  • Jennings SG (2015). "Physiological Mechanisms for Robust Speech Perception in Noise," presented to The Utah Speech-Language-Hearing Association (Ogden, Utah). Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 03/2015.
  • Almishaal A, and Jennings SG (2015). "Effects of Carrier Intensity on Amplitude Modulation Detection using High and Low-fluctuating Noises" Thirty-eighth Annual Midwinter Meeting of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology (Baltimore, Maryland). Poster, Presented, 02/2015.
  • Jennings SG, Hirschmugal KJ (2015). "The Effects of Masker Fluctuation on Overshoot Measured with Narrowband-Noise Maskers" Thirty-eighth Annual Midwinter Meeting of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology (Baltimore, Maryland). Poster, Presented, 02/2015.
  • Chen J, and Jennings SG (2015). "Improved Decrement Detection with Decrement Location may Result from Efferent Processing" Thirty-eighth Annual Midwinter Meeting of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology (Baltimore, Maryland). Poster, Presented, 02/2015.
  • Jennings SG (2014). "Evidence for Olivocochlear Processing in Psychoacoustics: Past Research and Future Directions," presented to Primary Children's Hospital: Department of Audiology (Salt Lake City, Utah). Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 08/2014.
  • Jennings SG, Ahlstrom JB, and Dubno JR (2014). "Modeling Individual Differences in Overshoot: Effects of Age, Hearing Loss, and Efferent Feedback" One-Hundred Sixty-Seventh Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America (Providence, Rhode Island). Poster, Presented, 05/2014.
  • Jennings SG, Ahlstrom JB, and Dubno JR (2014). "Effects of Age, Hearing Impairment and Efferent Feedback on Overshoot" Forty-First Annual Scientific and Technology Conference of the American Auditory Society (Scottsdale, Arizona). Poster, Presented, 03/2014.
  • Jennings SG, and Almishaal A (2013). “The Influence of Compression on Evaluating Dynamic Changes in Frequency Selectivity in Forward Masking" to be presented at the Thirty-sixth Annual Midwinter Meeting of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology (Baltimore, Maryland). Poster, Presented, 02/19/2013.
  • Jennings SG, and Almishaal A (2013). "The Effects of Compression, Masker Duration and Target Duration on Estimates of Frequency Resolution" Twenty-fifth Annual Midwinter Meeting of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology (Baltimore, Maryland) . Poster, Presented, 02/2013.
  • Jennings SG, and Strickland EA (2011). "Modeling the Effects of the Medial Olivocochlear Reflex, Temporal Integration, and Off-Frequency Listening on Estimates of Frequency Selectivity" presented at the One-Hundred Sixty-First Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America (Seattle, Washington). Poster, Presented, 05/26/2011.
  • Chintanpalli AK, Jennings SG, Heinz MG, and Strickland EA (2011). "Modeling the Anti-Masking Effects of the Olivocochlear Reflex in Auditory-Nerve Responses to Tones in Noise" One-Hundred Sixty-First Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America (Seattle, Washington). Poster, Presented, 05/2011.
  • Jennings SG (2011). "Reducing Cochlear Amplification Increases Auditory Contrast, " presented to The Department of Otolaryngology at the Medical University of South Carolina (Charleston, South Carolina). Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 04/01/2011.
  • Jennings SG (2011). "Reducing Cochlear Amplification Increases Auditory Contrast," presented to The Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Utah (Salt Lake City, Utah). Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 02/24/2011.
  • Jennings SG, and Strickland EA (2011). "Perceptual and Modeling Estimates of Frequency Selectivity Suggest that Acoustic Stimulation Reduces Cochlear Gain" presented at the Twenty-fourth Annual Midwinter Meeting of the Association for Research in Otolaryngolgoy (Baltimore, Maryland). Poster, Presented, 02/19/2011.
  • Jennings SG, Francis A, and Strickland EA (2010). "An Efferent Hypothesis May Explain Why Long Duration Vowels Enhance Spectral Contrast in Vowel Masking Patterns" Twenty-third Annual Midwinter Meeting of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology (Anaheim, California). Poster, Presented, 02/06/2010.
  • Jennings SG (2009). "The Frequency Selectivity of Gain Reduction Masking: Analysis Using Two Equally Effective Maskers," The 15th International Symposium On Hearing (Salamanca, Spain). Conference Paper, Presented, 06/01/2009.
  • Jennings SG, Heinz MG, and Strickland EA (2008). "Exploring the Psychophysical Temporal Effect in Masking Using a Model of the Auditory Periphery" J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 123, 3860 (Paris, France). Poster, Presented, 06/29/2008.
  • Jennings SG, and Strickland EA (2007). "Reductions in Gain from Pre-masker Stimulation at the Signal Frequency (A)," J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 121, 3197 (Salt Lake City, Utah). Poster, Presented, 06/04/2008.
  • Strickland EA, and Jennings SG (2008). "What Psychoacoustics may tell us about Auditory Efferent Feedback," Purdue Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences Brown Bag Lecture Series. Presentation, Presented, 02/01/2008.

Grants, Contracts & Research Gifts

  • “Influences of the Efferent System on Human Auditory Function,”. PI: S.G. Jennings. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, 04/2016 - present. Total project budget to date: $750,000.00
  • "Determining the Influence of the Medial Olivocochlear Relex on Speech Perception in Noisy Environments," . PI: S.G. Jennings. University of Utah College of Health Research Grant, 05/2012 - 05/2014. Total project budget to date: $5,000.00

Software Titles

  • PsyAcoustX. A flexible MATLAB® package for psychoacoustics research. Release Date: 10/2015.

Languages

  • English, fluent.

Publications

  • Jennings, S.G., Sivas, K. & Stone, C. (2018). Effects of Masker Envelope Fluctuations on the Temporal Effect. Journal of the Association for Research in Otolaryngolgy. Vol. 19, 1-11. Published, 08/20/2018.
  • Jennings, S.G. , Chen, J. , Fultz, S.E., Ahlstrom, J.B. & Dubno, J.R. (2018). Amplitude modulation detection with a short-duration carrier: Effects of a precursor and hearing loss. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. Vol. 143, 2232-2243. Published, 04/2018.
  • Almishaal, A., Bidelman, G.M. & Jennings, S.G. (2017). Notched-noise precursors improve detection of low-frequency amplitude modulation. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. Vol. 141, 324-333. Published, 01/2017.
  • Jennings SG, Ahlstrom JB, and Dubno JR (2016). "Effects of Age, Hearing Impairment, and Efferent Feedback on Overshoot," J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 140, 2481. Published, 10/2016.
  • Bidelman GM, Jennings SG, and Strickland EA (2015). "PsyAcoustX: A flexible MATLAB® package for psychoacoustics research," Front. Psychol. Advance online publication. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01498. Published, 10/2015.
  • Jennings SG, Ahlstrom JB, and Dubno JR (2014). "Computational Modeling of Individual Differences in Behavioral Estimates of Cochlear Nonlinearities," J. Assoc. Res. Otolaryngol. 15, 945-960. Published, 12/2014.
  • Bidelman GM, Schug JM, Jennings SG, and Bhagat SP (2014). "Psychophysical Auditory Filter Estimates Suggest Sharper Cochlear Tuning in Musicians," J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 136, EL33-49. Published, 07/2014.
  • Jennings SG, and Strickland EA (2012). "Auditory Filter Tuning Inferred with Short Sinusoidal and Notched-noise Maskers," J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 132, 2483-2496. Published, 11/01/2012.
  • Jennings SG, Dubno JR (2012). "The medial olivocochlear reflex: Nature's automatic gain control?" Audiol Today. 5, 58-61. Published, 10/01/2012.
  • Jennings SG, and Strickland EA (2012). "Evaluating the Effects of Olivocochlear Feedback on Psychophsyical Measures of Frequency Selectivity," J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 132, 2497-2513. Published, 09/01/2012.
  • Chintanpalli AK, Jennings SG, Heinz MG, and Strickland EA (2012). "Modeling the anti-masking effects of the olivocochlear reflex in auditory-nerve responses to tones in sustained noise," J. Assoc. Res. Otolaryngol. 13, 219-235. Published, 04/01/2012.
  • Jennings SG, Heinz MG, and Strickland EA (2011). "Evaluating Proposed Mechanisms of Psychophysical Overshoot Using a Computational Model of the Auditory Periphery," J. Assoc. Res. Otolaryngol. 12, 345-360. Published, 06/01/2011.
  • Jennings SG, and Strickland EA (2010). "The Frequency Selectivity of Gain Reduction Masking: Analysis Using Two Equally Effective Maskers," In E. A. Lopez-Poveda, A. R. Palmer, and R. Meddis (Eds.) The Neurophysiological Bases of Auditory Perception. New York: Springer., 47-58. Published, 01/01/2010.
  • Jennings SG, Strickland EA, and Heinz MG (2009). "Precursor Effects on Behavioral Estimates of Frequency Selectivity and Gain in Forward Masking," J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 125, 2172-2181. Published, 04/01/2009.
  • Strickland EA, and Jennings SG (2007). "An Adjustable Auditory System," Acoustics Today. 3(4), 27-28. Published, 10/01/2009.
  • Jennings SG (2019). “Digital Signal Processing” In J.S. Damico, and M.J. Ball (Eds.) The SAGE Encyclopedia of Human Communication Sciences and Disorders. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.. Published, 03/2019.