Ian Mertes Joins SHS
Dr. Ian Mertes has joined the Department of Speech and Hearing Science as an assistant professor fresh from a postdoctoral research position at the VA Loma Linda Healthcare System in Loma Linda, CA. He is generally interested in audiology and hearing science, and specifically focuses on adding to the body of scientific knowledge about the structure and role of the inner ear and brainstem in normal and disordered hearing.
A frequent complaint of individuals with hearing loss is the inability to follow conversation in the presence of background noise, such as in restaurants. Dr. Mertes is interested in investigating how the efferent auditory system impacts the perception of sound within noisy environments. His long-term goal is to work with clinical populations and to contribute to the development of technology and interventions to address problems such as this. In the short term, he will use objective measures of inner ear function, EEG measures of brainstem function, and behavioral measures of speech perception to develop a detailed picture of normal functioning systems.
In seeking an academic position, Dr. Mertes knew he wanted to work in a department that offered programs at all academic levels in both audiology and speech. “Not only did the Department of Speech and Hearing Science have that,” he said, “but it also offered a wide variety of opportunities and resources and a welcoming and supportive faculty.” He’s already met with scholars within the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, the Department of Psychology, and the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology, and is looking forward to engaging in the interdisciplinary collaboration that is the hallmark of AHS and the University of Illinois.