Current Research


Our current research revolves around understanding the short- and long-term consequences of communication challenges (hearing loss, noise exposure), with a focus on relating psychophysiological measurements in laboratory studies to field research and epidemiological data.

Hearing Loss and Fall Risk

This project focuses on investigating the relationship between hearing loss and fall risk in older adults. Epidemiological data suggests that middle-aged and older adults with hearing loss are at greater risk of injury and death from falling. The goal of our research is to identify the mechanisms underlying this elevated risk.

Example Publication: Xu, D., Newell, M., & Francis, A.L. (2021).  Fall-related injuries mediate the relationship between self-reported hearing loss and mortality in middle-aged and older adults. The Journals of Gerontology Series A: Medical Sciences, 76(9), e213–e220. DOI: 10.1093/gerona/glab123 Link

Addressing Challenges to Hearing Aid Adoption

This pilot research project investigates the role of social connection, especially with a life partner or caregiver, in making the decision to adopt hearing aids. This is being conducted in collaboration with Prof. Melissa M. Franks in Human Development and Family Studies.

Psychophysiological Responses to Background Noise

This project focuses on identifying physiological responses related to specific types or properties of background noise, and/or the cognitive mechanisms that are engaged in order to cope with such noise. Epidemiological research suggests that prolonged exposure to even low levels of noise that do not damage hearing may nevertheless be harmful to long-term health. The goal of this project is to identify potential mechanisms to explain this link.

Example Publication: Love, J., Sung, W., & Francis, A. L. (2021). Psychophysiological responses to potentially annoying heating, ventilation, and air conditioning noise during mentally demanding work. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 150(4), 3149-3163. DOI: 10.1121/10.0006383 Link

Recent work in this area is in collaboration with Prof. Patricia Davies at Herrick Labs.

Attention and Effort

This project, in collaboration with Prof. Daniel Strauss of the Systems Neuroscience and Neurotechnology unit of the University of Applied Science and the University of the Saarland, focuses on identifying and relating central and autonomic nervous system activity associated with the direction of selective attention.

Example Publication: Schneider, E.N., Bernarding, C., Francis, A.L., Honrsby, B.W.Y., & Strauss, D.J. (2019). A quantitative model of listening related fatigue. 9th International IEEE EMBS Neural Engineering Conference. March 20-23, San Francisco, CA, USA. Link

%d bloggers like this: