Erik Jorgensen, Ph.D. student, Speech and Hearing Science
Evaluates hearing aid performance
• Hometown: Clinton, Iowa
• Faculty mentor/advisor: Yu-Hsiang Wu, MD, PhD, Associate Professor, Communication Sciences and Disorders
• What is your degree program and expected graduate date? PhD, Speech and Hearing Science, May 2022
• Please describe your research: I study hearing and hearing aid outcomes in the real world, with a focus on noisy environments. No two noisy places in the real world are quite the same. I try to understand how differences between noisy places affect our ability to hear and the effectiveness of hearing aids.
• In simple terms, why does this research matter? Hearing in noise is a challenge for everyone, but it is particularly hard for people with hearing loss. Being able to hear in noisy places is an important part of life, as many of our occupational and social experiences take place in the presence of noise. Hearing aids often do not do a great job of improving hearing in noise in the real world. My work ultimately aims to improve how hearing aids process noisy environments, leading to improvements in hearing aid satisfaction and hearing-related quality of life for people with hearing loss.
• How soon after starting at the University of Iowa were you able to participate in research? Before starting my PhD, I completed my Doctor of Audiology (AuD) at Iowa, which is a clinical degree. Even then, however, I was involved in research from day one as a research assistant. A major strength of our department is the opportunity to be involved in research as an undergraduate or graduate student in one of the professional programs. The strong and inclusive research program is core to our department.
• How has being involved in research made you more successful at the University of Iowa? Being involved in research early in my clinical program ultimately led me to pursue my PhD and a career in research. The faculty in our department is incredibly supportive and encouraging of anyone wanting to do research, and they have fostered my research interests and ideas since I came to Iowa. During my clinical program, being involved in research improved the care I was able to provide to my patients. As a PhD student, my early involvement in research gave me a skillset that has greatly improved my ability to do the research I want to do and be successful at it.
• What are your career goals and/or plans after graduation? I hope to secure a faculty position at an academic institution where I can continue my research.
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