Discipline of Physiology
The Discipline of Physiology is part of the School of Medical Sciences and is the focus of teaching and research in the physiological sciences at The University of Sydney.
Its research staff and students are located primarily at the Camperdown Campus of the University, in the Anderson Stuart Building and in the Medical Foundation Building. Academics in the discipline teach undergraduate programs in the Faculty of Science, and the Graduate Medical Program.
The research interests of the faculty span a broad range of topics in the physiological sciences, with particular research focus on neuroscience, cardiovascular physiology, reproductive physiology, and endocrine function. Techniques used in our laboratories include imaging, electrophysiology, molecular biology, and human and animal behaviour.
Differential hearing difficulties in children: progress towards accurate clinical diagnosis
Some children who have trouble learning in the classroom have difficulty switching their listening attention and so have trouble following a conversation from one talker to the next, according to a research study published online in Nature Scientific Reports. The PhD study led by Imran Dhamani and Johahn Leung was a collaboration between the Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory in the Discipline of Physiology and Macquarie University's Audiology Section, funded by the HEARing Cooperative Research Centre.
The study looked at three groups of participants, 12 adults, 12 normal children and 12 children with persistent listening difficulties in noisy environments, but no diagnosis of a hearing disorder or other attentional disorder. Paper co-author Associate Professor Simon Carlile said the researchers were determined to find out why some children, with otherwise normal hearing, fell behind in the classroom.
"A wide battery of clinical tests indicated that children who complained of listening difficulties had otherwise normal hearing sensitivity and auditory processing skills," he said.
“In our study, we showed that these children were markedly slower to switch their attention compared to their age-matched peers. In a noisy conversation with many participants, this means that these children were having trouble following a conversation as it moved from one talker to the next, making it difficult for them to get the gist of what was being said. A deficit in the ability to switch attention across multiple talkers now provides the basis for this otherwise hidden listening disability, especially in noisy environments involving multiple talkers, such as classrooms. What we have done is provide a tool to diagnose a particular symptom that indicates an underlying problem that has been undiagnosed to date."
Simon Carlile and his co-workers are now working on developing a simple clinical test to diagnose this differential hearing condition, which could then be made available to audiologists. more news...