The Heuser Hearing Research Center (HHRC) conducts, promotes and distributes research on human hearing and hearing loss. The HHRC is located on the third floor of Heuser Hearing Institute’s hearing services building and is home to dedicated research facilities including two double-walled sound booths and a sound-field testing room. The Research Center is run by the endowed HHRC Chair, Pavel Zahorik, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Department of Otolaryngology and Communicative Disorders and the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at the University of Louisville.
Dr. Zahorik earned his Bachelor of Science in psychology and philosophy and his doctoral degree in experimental psychology from the University of Wisconsin. He completed three years of post-doctoral training in visual and auditory space perception at the University of California at Santa Barbara before joining the University of Louisville in 2003 as an associate professor of psychology in the division of communicative disorders. He runs the university’s ZAPlab, which you can learn more about by visiting www.zaplab.org.
Dr. Zahorik’s research interests are in auditory perception, with a focus in sound localization and spatial hearing. Specific areas of interest include:
- The perception of sound source distance
- The contributions of echoes and reverberation to percepts of source direction and distance
- The effects of adaptation, training and input from other sensory modalities on spatial hearing
Research in his laboratory relies heavily on auditory display technology that effectively simulates a “virtual” auditory space, using information about the acoustical characteristics of listeners’ external ears and the environment. This technology not only enables the precise study of psychophysical relationships between the acoustic signals present at the two ears and human spatial hearing abilities, but it also allows for simulations and scientifically relevant signal manipulations that would be impossible in real listening situations.
Dr. Zahorik’s current projects include close collaboration with researchers at Sonova, a leading manufacturer of innovative hearing care solutions, including hearing aids, cochlear implants and wireless communication solutions. This works seeks to better understand how hearing impairment impacts sound localization and communication in everyday listening situations, and to improve hearing aid technology and outcomes. Another project is an NIH-funded study that seeks to validate an innovative conceptual model of how auditory and visual distance information is combined and processed. Validation of the model will inform the development of new strategies for assisting or enhancing degraded spatial information to improve orientation and navigation abilities in visually-impaired and/or hearing-impaired populations.
Additional information on the research being conducted in Dr. Zahorik’s laboratory is available at ZAPlab.
Along with his research, Dr. Zahorik serves as associate editor or ad hoc reviewer to more than 25 scientific journals and has dozens of peer-reviewed papers to his credit.
Call Heuser Hearing Institute at (502) 584-3573 for more information about the Heuser Hearing Research Center.