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I Clinical oriented research in cooperation with neuroscience

- Neural activity in auditory brainstem
In cooperation with the neuroscience department we investigate the auditory maturation and underlying neuronal mechanisms in the brainstem region. To achieve this aim in vivo experiments in rats are performed. In recent years, a number of fundamental neural auditory mechanisms were revealed, using innovative techniques such as the patch-clamp method.

- Central auditory processing disorders
Children with central auditory processing disorders have difficulties with hearing in noisy conditions such as school. New instruments are developed to measure central auditory processing in young children. An important goal is to gain understanding in the neural mechanisms that may cause problems in central auditory functioning.

II Pediatric

Hearing disorders in newborns

As a result of the national newborn hearing screening programs, hearing-impairment can be detected at a very early stage. The screening is performed in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and in the well-baby clinic. Newborns who failed the tests are referred to our clinic for further diagnostics. Outcome of hearing assessment will be related to medical and genetic factors. Special attention is given to aspects of neural maturation in this population.

Speech, language and voice pathology

I Cost-effectiveness of the Demands and Capacities Model based treatment compared to the Lidcombe Programme of early stuttering intervention: Randomised trial
The Dutch standard for treating pre-school stuttering children is the Demands and Capacities Model based treatment. In 2000,  the Australian standard for treating these children was introduced in the Netherlands.  The cost-effectiveness of the Demands and Capacities Model based treatment compared to the Lidcombe Programme for early stuttering intervention will be evaluated.

II Speech development in very preterm and very low birth weight children

Children born very preterm (VP; <32 weeks' gestation) or with low birth weight (VLBW; <1500 g; hereafter called VP/VLBW) are at risk of speech and language deficits and behavioural and emotional problems. An adequate speech and language development is extremely important in the light of a child's learning and social-emotional development. Diagnosing and remediating a speech delay in at an early age, might  help to prevent VP/VLBW children to enter special education and might contribute to diminishing behavioural and emotional problems in these children. Therefore, this research project aims to  improve our knowledge of their speech development related to other developmental factors. Major risk factors for a speech delay in VP/VLBW children entering primary school will be identified.

III Measurement of voice quality

Traditionally, voice quality is judged perceptively. But acoustic measures are more objective. Therefore the "Dysphonia Severity Index" (DSI) was constructed, using four different objective (acoustic) measures. However, the applicability of the DSI still needs to be examined. To be able to offer optimal therapy to particular groups of patients, it is very important to carefully compare the effects of different treatment strategies.

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