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National Center for Rehabilitative Auditory Research (NCRAR)

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Frederick (Erick) J. Gallun, Ph.D.

E-mail: Frederick.Gallun@va.gov 
Phone: 503-220-8262 ext. 57472

Current Appointments

  • Research Investigator
  • Associate Professor, Dept. Otolaryngology/Head & Neck Surgery and Neuroscience Graduate Program, Oregon Health and Science University

Research Interests

The work of the Gallun Lab can be summarized by the idea that exposure to high-energy explosions (“blasts”) and aging can both increase the risk of having trouble doing complicated listening tasks even when the ability to do simple auditory detection tasks is preserved. These findings have come out the Gallun Lab’s focus on the ability of listeners to perform complex listening tasks representative of the activities that comprise real world listening behavior.

The current work on blast exposure involves Dr. Melissa Papesh, Dr. Tess Koerner, Dr. Sheila Pratt (Pittsburgh VA) and Dr. Lindsey Jorgensen (Sioux Falls VA), among many others who work tirelessly to collect and analyze the data from this important population. The work on aging involves multiple collaborators as well, including one NIH funded project (described below) involving Dr. Aaron Seitz (UC Riverside), Dr. Michelle Molis and Dr. David Eddins (University of South Florida) and one on hearing aid processing headed by Dr. Pamela Souza (Northwestern University) and involving Dr. Richard Wright (University of Washington).

All of these projects are tied together by the attempt to assesses the ability to do complex auditory tasks such as separating multiple sound sources using the various auditory cues available, and/or by assessing the ability to make judgments about the spatial, temporal, and spectral information contained in complex sounds. Our participants range in age from 18 to 89 and have hearing that varies from very good to moderately poor. Some of our participants have been near explosions during their military career, or have suffered blows to the head. Some of them have no complaints about their ability to hear and understand speech, while others find listening in noisy environments to be very difficult. Our goal is to do a better job of understanding the problems these people have and what we can do about it. We are also working to find out why some of these people appear to benefit from wearing hearing aids even though their basic ability to detect tones appears normal.

Gallun images
Our goal of improving both assessment and rehabilitation are best captured by two of our newest projects. The first is to develop and evaluate Portable Automated Rapid Testing (PART) measures (shown in the left panel of the picture below) that are appropriate for expanding the diagnostic capabilities of the clinic and yet require minimal additional time and equipment. This project from the National Institutes of Health (NIH; R01 DC01501) is headed by Drs. Gallun, Eddins, and Seitz. The second new direction is also a collaboration with Dr. Seitz, who is the Director of the UC Riverside Brain Game Center. In 2017, Drs. Seitz and Gallun were awarded an NIH grant to study the effects of auditory training using an engaging game that can be played on the iPad (shown in the right two panels of the figure below). This game seeks to improve sensitivity to those same auditory stimuli that we believe are at the basis of the impairments we see in our participants. By providing an interesting and fun way to become more sensitive to spectral, temporal, and spatial cues, we hope to be able to improve the auditory function of those who play the game that will also lead to improvements in the real-world behaviors with which they struggle and complain that they cannot do. With these portable automated rapid tests, we hope to bring sophisticated auditory testing and training into the clinics and homes where they are needed. To experience the games and evaluations being developed by the team, including “Listen: An Auditory Training Experience”, visit https://bgc.ucr.edu/games/

Current Research Projects

“Efficient diagnostic tools to evaluate central auditory dysfunction”
Principal Investigator: Frederick J. Gallun, PhD;
Co-Principal Investigators: David Eddins, PhD and Aaron Seitz, PhD
National Institutes of Health, NIDCD, Translational R01 2016-2021.

“Individualized Signal Processing Strategy to Enhance Hearing Healthcare: Phase II” 
Principal Investigator: Lee Krause, PhD
Co-Principal Investigators: David Eddins, PhD and Frederick Gallun, PhD
National Institutes of Health, NIDCD, SBIR 2017-2019.

“Brain Training for Central Auditory Dysfunction After Traumatic Brain Injury”
Principal Investigator: Aaron Seitz, PhD
Co-Principal Investigator: Frederick Gallun, PhD
National Institutes of Health, NICHD, R03 2017-2019.

"Blast exposed Veterans with auditory complaints"
Principal Investigator: Sheila Pratt, PhD
Co-Principal Investigators: Lindsey Jorgensen, PhD; Frederick Gallun, PhD
VA RR&D Merit Award 2015-2019.

“Acoustic and Perceptual Effects of WDRC Amplification”
Principal Investigator: Pamela Souza, PhD
Co-Investigators: Frederick Gallun, PhD and Richard Wright, PhD
National Institutes of Health, NIDCD, R01 2016-2021.

“Using Electrophysiology to Complement Speech Understanding-in-Noise Measures”
Principal Investigator: Curtis Billings, PhD
Co-Investigator: Frederick Gallun, PhD
National Institutes of Health, NIDCD, R01 2016-2021.

“Adaptation, learning and training for spatial hearing in complex environments”
Principal Investigator: Norbert Kopço, PhD
European Union Marie Curie Research and Innovation Staff Exchange, 2016-2018 

Selected Honors and Service

  • Elected Fellow of the Acoustical Society of America
  • Editor-in-Chief (Hearing), Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research (2017-2021)

Selected Recent Publications

Jakien, K.M. and Gallun, F.J. (2018) “Normative data for a rapid, automated test of spatial release from masking” American Journal of Audiology, published online ahead of print. https://aja.pubs.asha.org/article.aspx?articleid=2703918

Souza, P.E., Hoover, E.C., Blackburn, M., Gallun, F.J. (2018) “The characteristics of adults with severe hearing loss” Journal of the American Academy of Audiology, 29(8):764-779.

Gallun, F.J., Seitz, A.R., Eddins, D.A. et al. (2018) “Development and validation of Portable Automated Rapid Testing (PART) measures for auditory research” Proceedings of Meetings in Acoustics, 33, 050002 https://doi.org/10.1121/2.0000878

Papesh MA, Theodoroff SM, Gallun FJ. (2018) “Traumatic Brain Injury and Auditory Processing.” In: Hyperacusis and Disorders of Sound Intolerance: Clinical and Research Perspectives, edited by Marc Fagelson and David M. Baguley. Plural Publishing Inc., San Diego, CA

Gallun, F.J.,
Lewis, M.S., Papesh, M.A. (2017) “Auditory complaints among blast-exposed Veterans” Brain Injury. 31(9), 1183-1187. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02699052.2016.1274781

Adler, H.J., Anbuhl, K.L., Atcherson, S.R., Barlow, N., Brennan, M.A., Brigande, J.V., Buran, B.N., Fraenzer, J.T., Gale, J.E., Gallun, F.J. and Gluck, S.D. (2017) “Community network for deaf scientists” Science, 356 (6336), 386-387. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.aan2330

Jakien, K.M., Kampel, S.D., Gallun, F.J. (2017) “Validating a rapid, automated test of spatial release from masking” American Journal of Audiology 26, 507-518 https://doi.org/10.1044/2017_AJA-17-0013

Papesh, M.A., Folmer, R.L., Gallun, F.J., (2017) “Cortical measures of binaural processing predict spatial release from masking performance” Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 11:124 http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fnhum.2017.00124

Gallun, F.J., Lewis, M.S., Folmer, R.L., Hutter, M., Papesh, M.A., Belding, H., Leek, M.R. (2016) “Chronic effects of exposure to high-intensity blasts: Results on tests of Central Auditory Processing” Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development, 53(6): 705-720. http://www.rehab.research.va.gov/jour/2016/536/pdf/jrrd-2014-12-0313.pdf

Selected Recent Presentations

Gallun, F. J., Seitz, A.R., Vallier, T.J., Lewis, D. (2018) “Designing rehabilitative experiences for virtual, mixed, and augmented reality environments” 175th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America, Minneapolis, MN.

Gallun, F.J. (2017). “The future of auditory assessment and training” A series of four invited presentations at the Starkey Hearing Research Center, Berkeley, CA.

Gallun, F.J.
(2017) “Normative data for assessing performance on a rapid, automated test of speech-on-speech masking and spatial release from masking” 173rd Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America, Boston, MA

Gallun, F.J. (2017) “Developing portable automated methods for the diagnosis and rehabilitation of auditory processing deficits” Invited Seminar, University College London Ear Institute, London, UK

Gallun, F.J. (2017) “Applying the state of the art in research and technology to train auditory processing with engaging computer games”, 3rd Annual Workshop on Cognitive Neuroscience of Auditory and Cross-modal Perception, P.J. Šafárik University, Košice, Slovakia

Gallun, F.J. (2017) “Spatial release from masking: Effects of age and hearing loss” Invited Seminar, MRC Hearing Institute, Glasgow, Scotland and Nottingham, England

Gallun, F.J. & Molis, M.R. (2016). “Spectral ripple discrimination by listeners with older ears: Modeling and psychophysics”. International Hearing Aid Conference, Lake Tahoe, CA.

Gallun, F. J.
(2015). Assessing auditory processing abilities in blast-exposed Veterans. AudiologyOnline. http://www.audiologyonline.com/audiology-ceus/course/assessing-effects-blast-exposure-and-26974

Gallun, F. J. (2015). “Validating auditory complaints of blast-exposed Veterans” VA State of the Art Workshop on Traumatic Brain Injury 2015, Washington, DC

For additional information on research, presentations and publications, please contact Dr. Gallun