Faculty Directory

Anderson, Samira

Anderson, Samira

Associate Professor
Hearing & Speech Sciences
College of Behavioral and Social Sciences
Brain and Behavior Institute
0119b LeFrak Hall

My lab is interested in neural processing of auditory input across the life span. In infants, we study the development of speech sound differentiation and the relationship between subcortical speech encoding and later language development. This information may lead to earlier identification and treatment of language-based learning impairments. In older adults, we are investigating the effects of aging and hearing loss on the ability to understand speech in complex environments. As we age, we begin to notice a gradual decrease in our ability to process incoming stimuli, in part due to slower speed of processing. These changes are exacerbated by hearing loss and deficits in cognitive abilities, such as memory and attention. The basic test of hearing thresholds does not accurately predict hearing in noise. We use electrophysiology assessment techniques to assess the brain’s ability to accurately encode the timing and frequency components of speech in humans. We also evaluate plasticity in the auditory brainstem and cortex in response to sensory deprivation, augmented hearing, and auditory training. The use of hearing aids or cochlear implants cannot compensate for imprecise neural speech encoding; therefore, it is important to consider other rehabilitation approaches that focus on the use of auditory and/or cognitive training to improve speech understanding. The information gained from our research should lead to better methods of identification and management of hearing difficulties in older adults.


I joined the faculty of the Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences in January of 2013. I have a background in clinical audiology and I study the neural processing of speech across the lifespan, with a particular interest in the ways processing impairments affect language acquisition in infants and speech perception in older adults.  I use electrophysiology as my primary research tool, but I also use perceptual and imaging assessment techniques in collaboration with other faculty.

  • Neurobiology of speech perception
  • Learning-associated neural plasticity
  • Aging
  • Hearing loss
  • Auditory development

New UMD Division of Research video highlights work of Simon, Anderson

The researchers use magnetoencephalography to understand and develop training for aging-related signal processing interactions between the ears and the brain.

2023 BBI Seed Grants Inspire New Interdisciplinary Collaborations

The six interdisciplinary teams will use state-of-the-art neuroscience tools to translate basic science research into real-world impact.

Training Can Improve Older Adults’ Ability to Discriminate Rapid Changes in Sound

Findings support subsequent studies on hearing loss-reversing interventions

How does the brain turn heard sounds into comprehensible language?

$2.88M in NIH funding could lead to brain-aware, tunable hearing devices.

AESoP symposium features speakers, organizers with UMD ties

The symposium highlights research on hearing, speech and language that makes use of novel EEG or MEG signal processing.

BBI affiliated faculty receive $8 million NIH grant to combat hearing loss in older people

Multidisciplinary research will examine strategies to improve communication challenges.

BBI Holds 2017 Seed Grant Symposium

Over 115 people attend symposium featuring work and accomplishments of BBI Seed Grant Awardees for FY16/FY17.

NSF Science Now video features 'aging brain' research of Anderson, Simon and Presacco

Study is part of ongoing research into the so-called 'cocktail party problem.'

It’s not your ears, it’s your brain

UMD neuroscience research shows older adults’ brain processing contributes to diminished speech comprehension, even with normal hearing.

BBI Seed Grant winners announced

Five projects selected for inaugural round of funding.

Samira Anderson's research shows effects of aging on speech processing

Study finds brain processing - in addition to hearing loss - contribute to problems