Communication Disorders Study Seeks Children Five to Seven Years Old for Hearing Test

AMHERST, Mass. – A University of Massachusetts Amherst doctoral candidate is looking for healthy five- to seven-year-old youngsters and their families in the Pioneer Valley who are willing to take part in a 30- to 40-minute hearing test on the campus in Amherst. 

Nicole Maynard, who is leading the study and will conduct the tests, is investigating young children’s ability to detect small gaps in a stream of noise. She will use the Gaps-in-Noise Test, which so far has only been used for children seven years old and older. She is hoping to create standard data for younger ages to determine whether this test would be useful for them.

To participate in the study children must be five to seven years old, monolingual English speakers and must not be suspected of or be diagnosed with neurological disorders, hearing impairment, learning delays, auditory processing disorders or attention disorders and must be free from significant histories of ear infections.

Participating families must visit the communication disorders department’s audiology clinic at 358 N. Pleasant St. in Amherst. The group of non-invasive tests include a brief medical history, a hearing screening, a language screening and the 17-minute Gaps-in-Noise test. This test involves listening to sound through a headphone and pressing a button when a pause is heard. No test involves loud or unpleasant noise.

The hearing and language screenings are scored during the visit so families will leave with their results.

For more information, or to enroll your child, contact Nicole Maynard at, or call her at 802/431-5398.