Vanderbilt Kennedy Center

How hard can it be to listen?

Last Updated: Thursday, April 10, 2014

Principal Investigator: Fred H. Bess, Ph.D.

Other researchers: Ben Hornsby, PhD, Steve Camarata, PhD, Alexandra Key, PhD


We are interested in the effects of listening effort and listening fatigue in school age children. Is it hard work for them to listen? Does listening fatigue interfere with academic performance?

We invite 6-to-12 year olds and their parents to join our research study at the Vanderbilt Bill Wilkerson Center.

Participation involves:

  • Contact us to see if your child is a good match for the study.
  • Hearing and language development testing at no cost
  • Educational and reading tests at no cost
  • Providing a mouth swab sample to measure cortisol, a stress hormone
  • Sitting still and listening to sounds while wearing a damp stretchy cap
  • Listening and responding to sounds, lights or changes on a computer screen

Participant Criteria

6-to-12 year olds and their parents

School age 6-12 year-olds in these 4 groups:

  • bilateral hearing loss (confirmed or suspected)
  • hearing loss in only one ear (confirmed or suspected)
  • language impairment (confirmed or suspected)
  • typical language and hearing development


Up to $300 for completion and results of hearing, language and academic tests

Visit Requirements

5 or 6 visits


Download Brochure

Contact Information

Listening and Learning Lab at Vanderbilt

Want to Participate in this Study?

Enter your name and contact information and this study's coordinators will contact you if there are openings available.