Tye-Murray Lab

Principal Investigator:
Nancy Tye-Murray, PhD, Professor, Otolaryngology—Head & Neck Surgery


The Tye-Murray laboratory focuses on three areas of research: 1) assessment, including the development of speech recognition and discourse comprehension tests to assess both children and adults who have hearing loss; 2) rehabilitation, with an emphasis on the use of modern technology, including the development of computerized auditory training programs for adults and children and the development of speech-to-text technologies to promote communication in medical settings; and 3) basic research, including studies aimed at understanding the cognitive functions underlying speech recognition and audiovisual integration.

Research Projects

Elizabeth Mauze tests an adult patient in the lab’s study on audio/visual speech perception.

Auditory-Visual Integration and Age
Knowing how people with normal hearing are able to put together what they hear and see will help us to determine what makes someone a good speechreader. We have several ongoing projects investigating how the ability to integrate auditory and visual information changes as one ages. We are testing adults ranging in age from 22 years to over 90 years with an extensive test battery of auditory-only and audiovisual speech recognition tests, many of which were developed in our laboratory. We recently added an fMRI component to our research and are now studying brain regions that we believe to be associated with audiovisual speech perception.

Customized Auditory Training and Speechreading Training
We have developed computerized auditory training programs to teach children and adults to listen more effectively, despite the presence of hearing loss. The instructional design is based on principles of auditory learning and the various programs’ formats are based on principles of modern game-theory. The programs are engaging and fun, and they promote better listening performance in the presence of background noise. Importantly, our training program allows patients to train with the voices that are important to them, such as that of a spouse or classroom teacher. With the backing of a Bear Cub grant and investment from Washington University, we have commercialized the games and clEAR (customized learning: Exercises for Aural Rehabilitation) subscriptions are now available to patients with hearing loss.  At our website, clearworks4ears.com, patients may subscribe to receive customized auditory brain training (listening therapy), along with professional coaching and guidance from a clEAR audiologist.

Principle Investigator Nancy Tye-Murray works with a patient learning to use the clEAR training program developed by the lab.

Speechreading in Children
Children with hearing loss often depend upon watching the face as well as listening in order to recognize speech. Even so, we know very little about the developmental trajectories of speech reading and audiovisual integration. We aim to develop speechreading tests that are appropriate for children varying in age from 4 to 21 years, and that can be used in the clinical setting. We also aim to understand how speechreading skills emerge, including what cognitive abilities contribute to performance, why children vary so widely in ability, and whether critical periods exist, which might provide optimum windows for intervention.

We are currently enrolling study participants who meet the following criteria:

  • Children ages 6-12 with mild to severe hearing loss
  • Adults with normal hearing (for their age) from ages 18-90+

To learn more about our studies, please call the lab at (314) 747-7181 or email us at

Lab Team

  • Nancy Tye-Murray, PhD
  • Brent Spehar, PhD
  • Elizabeth Mauze, MS

Current Funding

NIH/NIDCD SBIR (C. Cardinal, PI) 2019-2020
“Customized auditory brain training for children with hearing loss”
Role:  Co-Principal Investigator

NIH/NIA SBIR (C. Cardinal, PI)  2019-2020
“Auditory brain training to enhance satisfaction and usage of near hearing aids by older adults”
Role: Co-Principal Investigator

NIH/NIA RO1 (N. Tye-Murray, PI) 2017-2023
“Auditory visual integration and age”
Role: Principle Investigator

NIH/NIDCD RO1 (N. Tye-Murray, PI) 2016-2022
“Enhancing Children’s Everyday Communication: Talker-Specific Speech Recognition Training”
Role: Principal Investigator

Select Publications

  1. Tye-Murray, N., Spehar, B., Barcroft, J., & Sommers, M. S. (2017). Auditory training for adults who have hearing loss: A comparison of spaced versus massed practice schedules. Journal of Speech-Language-Hearing Research, Vol 60, 2337-2345.
  2. Tye-Murray, N., Spehar, B., Barcroft, J., & Sommers, M. (2016). Auditory training for frequent communication partners. Journal of Speech-Language-Hearing Research, 59, 871-875.
  3. Tye-Murray, N., Spehar, B., Myerson, J., Hale, S., & Sommers, M. (2016). Lipreading and audiovisual speech recognition across the adult lifespan: Implications for audiovisual integration. Psychology and Aging, 31(4), 380.
  4. Barcroft, J., Spehar, B., Tye-Murray, N., & Sommers, M. (2016). Task- and talker-specific gains in auditory training. Journal of Speech-Language-Hearing Research, 59, 862-870. 
  5. Jerger, S., Tye-Murray, N., Abdi, H., & Damian, M. (2016). Phonological priming in children with hearing loss: Effect of speech mode, fidelity, and lexical status. Ear and Hearing, 37, 623-635.
  6. Myerson, J., Spehar, B., Tye-Murray, N., Van Egan, K., Hale, S., & Sommers, M. (2016). Cross-modal masking of lipreading by babble. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, 78, 346-354.
  7. Spehar, B., Tye-Murray, N., Myerson, J., & Murray, D. (2016). Real-time captioning for improving informed consent: Patient and physician benefits. Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine, 41, 65-68.
  8. Tye-Murray, N. (2018). Foundations of Aural Rehabilitation: Children, Adults, and Their Family Members: 5th Edition. Clifton Park, NY: Delmar Cengage Learning.  
  9. Sommers, M., Tye-Murray, N., Barcroft, J., & Spehar, B. (2015). The effects of meaning-based auditory training on measures of behavioral effort in adults with impaired hearing. Seminars in Hearing, 36, 263-272.
  10. Spehar, B., Goebel, S., & Tye-Murray, N. (2015). Effects of context type and listening performance and implications for sentence processing. Journal of Speech-Language-Hearing Research, doi:10.1044/2015.
  11. Tye-Murray, N., Hale, S., Spehar, B., Myerson, J., & Sommers, M. (2014). Lipreading in school-age children: The roles of age, hearing status, and cognitive ability. Journal of Speech-Language-Hearing Research, 56, 556-565.
  12. Tye-Murray, N., Spehar, B., Myerson, J., Sommers, M., & Hale, S. (2014). The self-advantage in visual speech processing enhances audiovisual speech recognition in noise. Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, DO1 10.s758/s 13423-014-0774-3.
  13. Jerger, S., Damian, M., Tye-Murray, N., & Abdi, H. (2014). Children use visual speech to compensate for non-intact auditory speech. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 126, 295-312.

Contact Us

If you are interested in our research projects or would like to see if there are any available for you to participate in, call us at 314-747-7181 or email us at AVSpeechperception@ent.wustl.edu.

Mailing address

660 S. Euclid Ave.
Campus Box 8115
St. Louis, MO 63110

Physical Address

4560 Clayton Ave.
Rm 2043 (office), 2024 (lab)
St. Louis, MO 63110