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ECE Student Varsha Pendyala
January 6, 2023

Pendyala and Sethares win best paper award

Written By: Jason Daley
ECE Professor Bill Sethares standing in front of Engineering Hall
ECE Professor William Sethares

Varsha Pendyala, an electrical and computer engineering PhD student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, recently received two awards. Pendyala, along with ECE Professor William Sethares and Dr. Viji Easwar from the National Acoustic Laboratories in Australia, won the best paper award at the 2022 IEEE – EMBS conference on Biomedical Engineering and Sciences held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in early December 2022.

The winning paper is titled “Techniques to infer frequency-specific audibility of speech using single-channel cortical responses.” Hearing loss is a common congenital health condition affecting children. Because children often receive hearing aids early in life before they can communicate well, the efficacy of their hearing aids are usually assessed using objective methods like electroencephalography (EEG). In this paper, the team investigated the accuracy of various techniques for assessing frequency specific audibility. The paper shows that a technique based on machine learning offers several benefits over conventional techniques.

Pendyala was also selected for a $1,000 travel award from the American Auditory Society (AAS) to attend its 50th Annual Meeting in March, 2023, in Scottsdale, Arizona. The funding is provided through a grant to AAS from the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. At the conference, Pendyala will present her research “Predicting audibility with cortical and sub-cortical envelope following responses,” which is based on work conducted with Sethares, Easwar and Dr. David Purcell at Western University, Canada.