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Speech and Language Lab

The Speech and Language Laboratory, situated in the Department of Speech & Hearing Sciences, conducts research dedicated to exploring the use of modern technology applied to people with speech, hearing, and language disorders. Research addresses language development, language use, and cognitive processes related to language using acoustic phonetic analysis, computational psycholinguistics, (real-time) bio-feedback and wearable technology, automatic speech recognition (ASR) and automatic speech processing (ASP), complex statistical modeling, and behavioral measures. Recent projects have explored the application of wearable computer technology, automatic speech recognition (ASR), telehealth administration of standardized tests, and rehabilitation techniques. We have worked on issues within populations of children who are deaf or hard-of-hearing (D/HH) who wear hearing aids and cochlear implants, adults with Parkinson’s disease, and adults and children without deficit.

The lab hosts regular undergraduate and graduate student researchers and is affiliated with the HOPE School of Spokane, a preschool for children with hearing loss, and the university Hearing & Speech Clinic—all housed in the Health Sciences Building at the WSU Health Sciences campus in downtown Spokane. In addition, research projects are supported by resident Research Assistants, visiting researchers and post doctoral students, and a wide range of WSU and external collaborators. The lab is currently funded by a research grant from the NSF supporting development of HomeBank, an online repository of daylong audio recordings and software tools. Lab members are affiliated with Daylong Audio Recordings of Children’s Linguistic Environments (DARCLE), and international consortium of researchers looking at child speech, cognitive development, and computational approaches to acoustic data.

In the Media

The Inlander

We can help Parkinson’s patients speak up.
WSU Spokane’s Mark VanDam is building a device to fight the neurodegenerative disease.

The Seattle Times

Modern dads may do diapers but not baby talk, WSU study finds.
A new study by researchers at Washington State University, Spokane, found that while moms often use high-pitched tones and varied cadences with babies and toddlers, dads play it straight, speaking to kids as if they were adults.