Research Summary

Research Area Affiliations

Research Summary

Dr. Delgutte’s research focuses on how the auditory system processes biologically significant sounds, such as speech, with the goal of understanding the neural basis of auditory perception. He is also interested in applying this basic knowledge to improve hearing aids and cochlear implants. His research is motivated by the observation that hearing impaired listeners, deaf users of cochlear implants and automatic speech recognition systems all have trouble understanding speech in noisy and reverberant settings, even if they do well in quiet. Understanding the neural mechanisms underlying the good performance of normal hearing listeners in these everyday challenging conditions may suggest improvements in both assistive devices and artificial systems. 

Dr. Delgutte is also investigating the developmental plasticity of binaural hearing in animal models of bilateral cochlear implants to determine whether appropriate stimulation can reverse the deficits in the perception of binaural cues observed in cochlear implant users, especially those with early-onset deafness. This research will inform and motivate the design of new processing strategies and rehabilitation procedures for bilateral cochlear implants that work better in everyday noisy environments, and that are adapted to the history of auditory experience of individual deaf patients.  

Select Publications

Physiological mechanisms of psychophysical masking: Observations from auditory-nerve fibers. Delgutte B. J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 1990; 87:791-809.

Neural correlates of the pitch of complex tones. I. Pitch and pitch salience. Cariani P.A. and Delgutte B. J. Neurophysiol. 1996; 76:1698-1716.

Chimaeric sounds reveal dichotomies in auditory perception.  Smith Z.M., Oxenham A.O. and Delgutte B. Nature 2002; 416:87-90.

Dynamic range adaptation to sound level statistics in the auditory nerve.  Wen B., Wang G.I., Dean I. and Delgutte B. J. Neurosci. 2009; 29: 13797–13808. 
Congenital and prolonged adult-onset deafness cause distinct degradations in neural ITD coding with bilateral cochlear implants. Hancock K.E., Chung, Y. and Delgutte B. J. Assoc. Res. Otolaryngol. 2013; 14: 393-411.

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Ph.D. Electrical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1981
Dr. ès Sciences. Life Sciences, Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris, 1984


“Neural coding and perception of sound,” Division of Medical Sciences, Harvard Medical School