Monitoring pupillary dilation could lead to better treatment of hearing loss

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Monitoring pupillary dilation could lead to better treatment of hearing loss: Minimal changes in the dilation of people’s pupils could provide information about how hard the brain works when listening, says a Bradford scholar.

The information could even be used to help tailor interventions for people with hearing loss.

Ronan McGarrigle, senior lecturer in psychology at the University of Bradford School of Social Sciences (England), wrote his doctorate on “pupillometry,” a method of examining tiny changes in the size of people’s pupils in order to understand how this relates to the experience of mental exertion while listening. .

The subject forms the basis of a public lecture Ronan is scheduled to deliver, entitled Eyes as a window to the listening brain, as part of the last Bradford Café Scientifiqueseason.

Ronan said: “Pupillometry has been around for a while, and there are a lot of studies showing that when people get excited or need to absorb more information, their pupils dilate.

“My research has focused on the perception of speech in everyday environments, for example how people react to a conversation in a noisy environment, such as a pub or in a car. One of the ways to measure this is to look at how the size of the pupil of your eye increases and decreases.

“If you put someone in a difficult environment where there is a lot of noise, you will see a fairly predictable increase in pupil size. This is because the brain has to work much harder than in quiet listening environments. At some point, it may become a useful clinical tool, perhaps for comparing the mental exertion requirements between two different types of hearing aids.

He continued, “The differences can be tiny, so small that they can’t be seen with the naked eye, but they could be detected by an eye tracker. Today, audiologists rely on basic screening protocols (detecting tones in silence and speech-in-noise tests) to determine which hearing aids are most suitable for people.

The research could also have other applications, such as measuring the impact of noisy classrooms on schoolchildren and the listening burden in everyday environments for non-native speakers.

Experimental psychologist Ronan, who is currently lecturing on research methods in psychology, added, “I think this just shows the breadth of research in the field of psychology and that we are always looking to understand the world within. which we live in and how we interact with it.

Eyes as a window to the listening brain conference will be given on July 21, 2022 at 6.30 p.m. as part of the Bradford Café Scientifique Seriespublic lectures.

Monitoring pupillary dilation could lead to better treatment for hearing loss: Ronan’s research articles are available below:

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/psyp.13703

https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2021-46841-001

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022096516302806


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