Dr. Kirk to Be Honored at ASHA Conference

Dr. Karen Iler Kirk

Dr. Karen Kirk, head of the Department of Speech and Hearing Science, will receive Honors of the Association during the 2017 Convention of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association in November. ASHA's most prestigious award recognizes lifetime achievement of individuals whose contributions have enhanced or altered the course of the speech and hearing science professions.
Dr. Kirk’s research investigates factors that influence spoken word recognition and speech perception in adult and pediatric cochlear implant users. In her Speech Perception Lab, she and her team are developing speech perception assessments that accurately predict real-world speech recognition performance for cochlear implant users. They also are developing training strategies to improve cochlear implant performance outcomes.
Dr. Kirk served as the speech language pathologist for the very first pediatric cochlear implant performed by Dr. William House. She began her research in this area by documenting speech and language outcomes in children with implants and identifying factors contributing to the success of the implant, such as age at implantation. She went on to publish extensively in the areas of speech intelligibility, speech perception, and speech production.
Working with Dr. David Pisoni of Indiana University, Dr. Kirk co-developed the Lexical Neighborhood Test to evaluate the effects of lexical difficulty on spoken word recognition by children with prelingual profound deafness. The test has been used in nearly all FDA pediatric clinical trials of cochlear implant systems in the United States.