Interdisciplinary blog

MDR Week: Blog no 6- Your Brain at the Cocktail Party

March 14, 2013
by Jessica Monaghan

Join Dr Jessica Monaghan to discover how innovative research can improve performance of hearing aids and automatic speech recognition in challenging environments at the event ‘Your Brain at the Cocktail Party’ on Tuesday 19th March. An insight into this exciting and multidisciplinary research field can be found below.


Your Brain at the Cocktail Party



  Dr Jessica Monaghan


I am a postdoctoral researcher working with Dr Stefan Bleeck at the Institute of Sound and Vibration Research and Dr Matthew Wright from the Faculty of Engineering and the Environment.

(ISVR). I am interested in how the brain enables us to understand speech in challenging environments such as cocktail parties, restaurants and bars, how this ability breaks down when you lose your hearing, and how we can apply our knowledge of the healthy auditory system to enhance speech processing and speech understanding by machines.

I will be talking about the brain’s remarkable ability to segregate different sounds from each other, presenting some of our research on how we can use computer models of the auditory brain to de-noise speech automatically. Using examples of everyday listening tasks, I will discuss which features of sounds are most important for separating speech sounds that originate from different sources.

Hearing and communication are fundamental aspects of our humanity. Hearing research is a multidisciplinary field, combining expertise from anatomy, audiology, signal processing, acoustics and neuroscience. Understanding how the brain processes complex sounds is important if we are to restore communication abilities in those with impaired hearing, and this requires collaboration across a range of scientific disciplines. This knowledge will also benefit our understanding of how to improve automatic speech recognition by computer software, especially in challenging listening conditions.




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Categories: #MDRWeek, acoustic bubble, multidisciplinary research, and Multidisciplinary Research Week. Tags: #MDRWeek, Dr Jessica Monaghan, Dr Matthew Wright, Dr Stefan Bleeck, and Institute of Sound and Vibration Research.