National journal names hearing scientist to editor’s post
Sid Bacon, an auditory psychophysicist at Arizona State University, is stepping into the role of editor of the section on hearing for the Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research. Bacon, who officially assumes the editor duties in January, has observed a decline in the number of papers on hearing published in the journal over the past 20 years, as new journals from other societies focused solely on hearing have been created. He hopes to reverse that trend, and elevate the journal’s prominence among auditory journals, and ensure that its role as a flagship journal within the field continues.
In order to achieve those goals, Bacon will work with a staff of associate editors and experts in the field of hearing to actively seek high-quality submissions for the hearing section by individuals well-known in their area of research.
“I’ve enlisted some outstanding associate editors, people who are top in the field, and have asked them to help me identify and recruit people to submit papers,” said Bacon.
The journal, published by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, produces peer-reviewed, empirical research on communication sciences and disorders. It not only provides fundamental knowledge necessary to understand the normal and disordered processes of speech, language, and hearing, but also provides information relevant to clinical treatment in those fields, explained Bacon, who also is dean of natural sciences in ASU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
Bacon became a member of ASU’s faculty in 1988 as an associate professor. Among his positions at ASU, he has served as chair of the Department of Speech and Hearing Science. He has had continuous funding from the National Institutes of Health for his hearing research since receiving his doctorate in 1985.
As director of the Psychoacoustics Laboratory at ASU, Bacon recently received NIH funding for a program on electric-acoustic hearing, a new area of research for his laboratory. This research will benefit individuals who have a complete loss of hearing for all but low frequencies. To provide a sense of hearing for mid-to-high frequencies, these individuals are fitted with a cochlear implant, which bypasses the damaged cochlea of the inner ear and stimulates the auditory nerve electrically.
“Thirty years ago, people who were implanted with these devices generally received only a crude sense of sound, often allowing them to hear a door close or a car honk, or aiding them in lip reading,” said Bacon. “Today, however, many people can talk on the phone using cochlear implants.”
According to Bacon, despite the research and technological advances, individuals with a cochlear implant still have difficulty understanding speech in noisy environments. This is where electric-acoustic hearing comes in.
“For people with some low-frequency hearing, the combination of acoustic stimulation in the low-frequency region with electric stimulation in the higher frequency regions can generally result in significantly improved speech recognition in noise,” said Bacon, “even when recognition with acoustic stimulation or electric stimulation alone is quite bad.
“This is truly significant, because most of our communication takes place in environments that are at least somewhat noisy,” he said.
“Initially our research in this area was focused on why is it that people do so well when you add acoustic stimulation to electric stimulation. We have a pretty good understanding of that and so we are now focused on using novel signal processing schemes to enhance the benefit provided by the low-frequency acoustic stimulation,” Bacon said. “One of our current questions asks how we can expand the population of cochlear implant patients who benefit from electric-acoustic hearing.”
Questions like these are among the many that leading researchers attempt to address in their submissions to the hearing section of the journal. As editor of this section, Bacon will be responsible for deciding what content will be accepted for publication. He will be joined by the associate editors and other experts in the field of hearing who review the submissions and make recommendations on which articles to publish.
Bacon’s editorship with the Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research builds on previous involvement. He has authored articles in the journal and served two terms as an associate editor. He is completing a term as a member on the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association publications board.
Bacon has a doctorate in experimental psychology from the University of Minnesota, and a master’s degree in audiology and a bachelor’s degree in speech pathology and audiology from the University of Kansas.
Written by Jessica Stone (Jessica.Renee.Stone@asu.edu).
Carol Hughes, firstname.lastname@example.org
College of Liberal Arts