July 2017- June 2020: I am a co-PI and a Research Fellow on a new ESRC funded project titled ‘Speech masking effects in speech communication across the lifespan’. The project aims to lead to a better understanding of how speech communication is affected by different types of noises in the environment -and how this changes as a function of age. In this project we are exploring different ways to investigate speech in interaction in realistic everyday communicative settings -both inside and outside the laboratory!
Recent research projects I’ve been involved in:
This research project investigates the impact of ageing on speech communication in good and adverse listening conditions. Speech communication in older talkers is affected by multiple factors: age-related hearing loss, declines in motor control, how the brain processes incoming information and how we remember facts. The aim of this project is to achieve a better understanding of the effects of ageing on speech communication and of the various contributing factors to potentially degraded speech communication in a population of ‘healthy aged’ individuals. In this project we are looking at speech production (acoustic-phonetic features), voice characteristics, head movement and eye contact (face tracking), cognitive function and sensory acuity (hearing thresholds) when communication becomes effortful (e.g., in background noise). For more information, please visit the project website. Publications to be added soon...
For a really nice (and fun!) technique to elicit spontaneous speech, please visit the DiapixUK website!
Some recent talks relating to this project:
i) Tuomainen, O & Hazan, V. (2018). Effects of mild age-related hearing loss and background noise on speech communication. Invited talk at the Speech in Noise (SPiN-2018) workshop. Glasgow, UK.
ii) Tuomainen, O. & Hazan, V. (2017). Effects of aging on speech production and speaker intelligibility. Talk the MRC OverHear Network, a conference on real world communication ecology, UCL, Ear Institute.
iii) Hazan, V & Tuomainen, O. (2017). How do Aging and Presbycusis Affect The Ability to Communicate Effectively in Challenging Conditions’. Invited talk by Hazan, Aging & Speech Communication Research Conference 2017, November 5-8, 2017, USF Tampa, USA.
This project investigated how children and young people plan and understand speech and how these develop through late childhood. For more information, please visit the project website.
Some recent publications relating to this project:
i) Hazan, V. L., Tuomainen, O., & Pettinato, M. (2016). Suprasegmental Characteristics of Spontaneous Speech produced in Good and Challenging Communicative Conditions by Talkers aged 9 to 14 years old. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 59, S1596-S1607.
ii) Pettinato, M., Tuomainen, O., Granlund, S., & Hazan, V. (2016). Vowel space area in later childhood and adolescence: Effects of age, sex and ease of communication. Journal of Phonetics, 54, 1-14.
iii) Tuomainen, O., Lee, C., Granlund, S., & Hazan, V. L. (2015). Phonetic reduction in spontaneous speech by children aged 9-14 years. Proceedings of the 18th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences.
This project investigated why some children with permanent mild or moderate hearing loss (MMHL) have impaired language, while others do not. One factor that might account for poor language skills in this group is the way in which they process sounds. For more information, please visit the project website.
Some recent publications relating to this project:
i) Halliday, LF., Tuomainen, O. & Rosen, S. (2017). Auditory Processing Deficits Have Multiple Routes to Language : Evidence from Children with Mild to Moderate Sensorineural Hearing Loss. Cognition, 166, 139-151.
ii) Halliday, LF., Tuomainen, O. & Rosen, S. (2017). Language Development and Impairment in Children with Mild to Moderate Sensorineural Hearing Loss. Journal of Speech Language and Hearing Research, , 60, 1551-1567.
4.Auditory and speech processing in Specific Language Impairment (SLI) and Dyslexia.
It has been suggested that both SLI and dyslexia stem from similar underlying sensory deficit that impacts speech perception and phonological development leading to oral language and literacy deficits. Previous studies, however, have shown that these underlying sensory deficits exist in only a subgroup of language impaired individuals, and the exact nature of these deficits is still largely unknown. My PhD work investigated three aspects of auditory-phonetic interface: 1) The weighting of acoustic cues to phonetic voicing contrast 2) the preattentive and attentive discrimination of speech and non-linguistic stimuli and 3) the formation of auditory memory traces for speech and non-linguistic stimuli in young adults with SLI and dyslexia. This work focused on looking at both individual and group-level data of auditory and speech processing and their relationship with higher-level language measures. The results revealed a complex pattern between behavioural and neural responses. Individuals with SLI/Dyslexia were not poor at discrimination sounds (nonspeech or speech). However, young adults with SLI (but not with dyslexia) had differential brain responses to both nonspeech and speech sounds than their typically developing age-matched controls. Furthermore, some individuals (but not all) with SLI had weaker phonological representations than controls.
Publications relating to this project:
i) Tuomainen, O., Stuart, N. J., & Van Der Lely, H. K. J. (2015). Phonetic categorisation and cue weighting in adolescents with Specific Language Impairment (SLI). Clinical Linguistics and Phonetics, 29 (7), 557-572
ii) Tuomainen, O. T. (2015). Auditory short-term memory trace formation for nonspeech and speech in SLI and dyslexia as indexed by the N100 and mismatch negativity electrophysiological responses. NeuroReport, 26 (6), 374-379.