“I hope there will be a scientific breakthrough to significantly help us counteract climate change.”
I work primarily with speech understanding, hearing impairment, and compensation strategies, trying to understand the factors that lead to speech understanding deficits and how hearing instruments can compensate for them. To that end, I work with, and on, methods such as psychoacoustical and diagnostic testing, computational modeling of auditory processing, as well as methods to assess eye and brain activity in response to acoustic and audio-visual stimulation, for instance pupillometry, eye-gaze tracking, and EEG.
I have always been fascinated by the aesthetics of sound in general, and of music and the artistic use of sound in particular. This led me to focus on the sense of hearing and explore our remarkable abilities when it comes to perceiving and utilizing sound. The fact that these abilities can be severely limited because of various deficits that are typically summarized under the term hearing impairment, combined with the fact that the effects are still not well understood, triggered my curiosity, especially with the perspective to potentially improve existing solutions.
I worked at the Technical University of Denmark as a PhD candidate and later as a postdoctoral researcher, where there was quite some interaction with Eriksholm. So, I knew that Eriksholm is a bit of a unicorn in terms of conducting high-quality research whilst being directly connected to and relevant for a company that develops hearing instruments. I liked this combination very much and was lucky enough to get a position.
I like to systematically approach research questions that have not been answered yet and I also very much like the engineering side of that process, especially when it comes to model simulations of the hearing system. I find it very rewarding to channel my interests and abilities to provide effective solutions for people with hearing problems.
I focus quite a bit on hearing problems that cannot be solved by means of sound amplification, so-called supra-threshold deficits. This usually occurs as one aspect of a person’s hearing impairment, but not necessarily. As an extreme example, there are people who do not even have a hearing impairment according to the current clinical definition, yet they experience severe hearing difficulties, for example with speech understanding in certain complex scenarios. I work towards achieving a more holistic understanding of hearing impairment with all its components, how they affect perception (especially speech), and how to provide engineering-based solutions.
I spend my time usually with my family and friends and I enjoy making music. My main instrument is guitar; I play all sorts of guitars, such as classical, electric, western, slide, and then also a little bass guitar, piano, and drums – my technical ability varies quite a lot across these instruments though. I am also fascinated by various types of sound effects one can use in connection with the different electrical instruments – buying and working with such sound effects was definitely one of my Covid coping activities during that period.
I guess the internet and everything that came with it was a very important invention – I remember a time when access to information was not a given in every situation, so you’d have to memorize things and look them up in books, or at least in locally stored documents. It’s amazing what we can do today and how little energy we spend on remembering or accessing information, which allows us to allocate our resources elsewhere. There are obviously less positive aspects as well, but especially working as a scientist, I appreciate the easy access to information and the ability to communicate with my peers essentially without any limitations.
I hope there will be a scientific breakthrough to significantly help us counteract climate change.