PhD degree successfully defended by Thirsa Huisman

Information technology Computer calculations Medicine and medico technology Health and diseases Sound

On November 11, Thirsa Huisman successfully defended her thesis “The Influence of Vision on Spatial Localization in Normal-Hearing and Hearing-Impaired Listeners”.

The defense took place at the Technical University of Denmark in front of a restricted audience and was held partly online. The PhD thesis of Thirsa Huisman presents a series of five studies on the interactions between visual and auditory information during sound localization tasks and the dependency of those interactions on factors including sensory bias, realism, acoustical fidelity, age, hearing loss  and scene complexity.

The interaction between visual and auditory information regarding auditory localization is well known in literature and often referred to as the ventriloquist effect. Thirsa presented a very interesting extension of our understanding of this audio-visual integration effect towards a more ecologically valid setting using an innovative combination of loudspeaker array and spatial video using head-mounted displays (HMD). The coherence and scope of the described research impressed the assessment committee. The combination of loudspeaker arrays with HMD-based visual virtual reality is not novel on its own, but this work builds on previous work – particularly pioneered at DTU – to better understand the strengths and limitations of the approach. Localization errors were quantified with greater precision and across a broad range of ecologically valid tasks. These measurements lead directly to recommendations regarding the situations in which such localization errors might impact research results. Thirsa’s results increased our theoretical understanding of audio visual integration across space and time.

Thirsa’s presentation of her research was well-organized and clear. The committee found that it is an impressive and high-impact dissertation and meaningful contribution to science and that Thirsa’s highly innovative analytic technique may see significant use in further studies.

Caption (leftmost): Chairperson Senior Researcher Jens Bo Nielsen, Associate Professor Jeremy Marozeau, PhD Thirsa Huisman, Principal supervisor Professor Torsten Dau. Photo: Niclas Janßen

Supervisors: Principal supervisor: Professor Torsten Dau, Co-supervisor: Associate Professor Ewen MacDonald, Co-supervisor: Dr. Tobias Piechowiak
Associate Professor Jeremy Marozeau, DTU Health Tech, Professor Steven van de Par, University in Oldenburg, Director G. Christopher Stecker, Boys Town National Research Hospital.
Chairperson at defence:
Senior Researcher Jens Bo Nielsen

More info about the project here