The emergence of cognitive hearing science

Stig Arlinger, Thomas Lunner, Björn Lyxell, M. Kathleen Pichora-Fuller*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    156 Citations (Scopus)


    Cognitive Hearing Science or Auditory Cognitive Science is an emerging field of interdisciplinary research concerning the interactions between hearing and cognition. It follows a trend over the last half century for interdisciplinary fields to develop, beginning with Neuroscience, then Cognitive Science, then Cognitive Neuroscience, and then Cognitive Vision Science. A common theme is that an interdisciplinary approach is necessary to understand complex human behaviors, to develop technologies incorporating knowledge of these behaviors, and to find solutions for individuals with impairments that undermine typical behaviors. Accordingly, researchers in traditional academic disciplines, such as Psychology, Physiology, Linguistics, Philosophy, Anthropology, and Sociology benefit from collaborations with each other, and with researchers in Computer Science and Engineering working on the design of technologies, and with health professionals working with individuals who have impairments. The factors that triggered the emergence of Cognitive Hearing Science include the maturation of the component disciplines of Hearing Science and Cognitive Science, new opportunities to use complex digital signal-processing to design technologies suited to performance in challenging everyday environments, and increasing social imperatives to help people whose communication problems span hearing and cognition. Cognitive Hearing Science is illustrated in research on three general topics: (1) language processing in challenging listening conditions; (2) use of auditory communication technologies or the visual modality to boost performance; (3) changes in performance with development, aging, and rehabilitative training. Future directions for modeling and the translation of research into practice are suggested.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)371-384
    Number of pages14
    JournalScandinavian Journal of Psychology
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2009


    • Aging
    • Cochlear implant
    • Cognition
    • Development
    • Hearing
    • Hearing aid
    • Hearing loss
    • Language
    • Rehabilitation
    • Working memory


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