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The University of Southampton
EngineeringPostgraduate study

Ms Xiaoxue (Yuki) Wang 

Postgraduate research student

Ms Xiaoxue (Yuki)  Wang's photo

Yuki first obtained her BSc Psychology in Chongqing, China. In 2018, she finished her MRes Psychology in the University of Manchester. She is now a PhD student in the University of Southampton, under supervision of Professor David Simpson and Professor Stefan Bleeck and Dr Katie Plant, aiming to find methods to measure and monitor listening effort. 
Yuki is interested in the sound and rhythm things make, such as speech, music, and physiological signals. She likes playing piano (not very good though) and passionate in language learning. Before starting her PhD study, she passed N2 Japanese Language Proficiency Test (N1 is the highest level).

Research interests

  • Biomedical signal processing
  • Neuroplasticity 

PhD research

PhD research title: Listening Hard: New Tools for Monitoring Effort in Listening to Speech in Noise. Supervisors: Prof. David Simpson, Prof.  Stefan Bleeck, Dr. Katie Plant 

PhD supervision: Primary supervisor: Professor David Simpson; Co-supervisors: Professor Stefan Bleeck, Dr Katie Plant 

Research group

Signal Processing, Audio and Hearing Group

Affiliate research group

Transportation Group

Listening Hard: New Tools for Monitoring Effort in Listening to Speech in Noise

Listening to conversation with noisy environments can be very challenging, especially for people who are in disadvantage in the first place (with hearing impairment or listening to a second language). However, our perception of ‘Effort in Listening’ is still insufficient. The main object of this project is to find standard methods to measure and observe ‘effort’ in listening over long periods.

Signal Processing, Audio & Hearing

Hearing speech is usually easy but understanding speech in noise or in poor acoustic environments can be very challenging.

This impacts people’s ability to communicate, especially over extended periods, impair their social interaction and their performance at work or at school. For hearing impaired listeners, some even with only mild impairment, this can become critical and exclude them from particular environments and activities and degrade their general wellbeing. However, our understanding of ‘Effort in Listening’ or ‘Ease of Listening’ remains limited, and current tools to quantify these constructs are not sufficiently robust and no ‘gold standard’ has emerged.

The overarching aim of the current project is to find methods that can continuously monitor ‘effort’ in listening over extended periods, using a range of physiological signals (e.g. heart-rate, respiratory rate, skin impedance, pupil diameter etc.) and advanced multivariate signal analysis approaches. Our vision is that such methods will support the evidence-based design of future aided hearing devices (hearing aids, cochlear implants etc.) and their fitting to improve ease of listening. The methods also aim to support the optimized design of acoustic environments and noise emissions for ease of communication. Monitoring effort continuously over extended periods, and not only after specific (brief) tasks, as is currently commonly done, will permit the assessment of fatigue and the effects of changing listening

Ms Xiaoxue (Yuki) Wang
Engineering, University of Southampton, Highfield, Southampton. SO17 1BJ United Kingdom
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