Virginia (Gin) Best

 

 

Research Associate Professor, Boston University

Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences

635 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, MA, 02215, USA

Phone: +1-617-353-2622
Email: ginbest@bu.edu

Link to CV

Research Interests

1. Sound localization in normal and hearing-impaired listeners. Although there is a long history of studies of sound localization for simple stimuli under ideal conditions, I am interested in measuring sound localization for complex stimuli, including speech sounds in quiet and in mixtures of competing talkers. I also investigate sound localization in listeners with hearing loss, and have worked with major hearing aid companies to understand the effect of hearing aids on spatial hearing.

2. Spatial release from speech-on-speech masking. Listeners with hearing loss obtain less benefit from the spatial separation of competing talkers in multitalker environments, but the underlying reasons for this deficit are not clear. My work in this area has demonstrated that non-spatial factors such as reduced audibility may play a bigger role than previously thought. An important implication is that adequate frequency-specific amplification is crucial not just for improving speech intelligibility in quiet but for enabling spatial release from masking.

3. Spatial auditory attention. This line of work aims to understand the importance of spatial auditory attention for speech perception in noise. My approach has been to carefully distinguish effects of attention from acoustical effects. I also study listeners with hearing loss to understand the downstream consequences of peripheral degradations on central processes like attention.

4. Realistic environments. I am very interested in the development of realistic laboratory tests for assessing individual abilities and the benefit of hearing devices. This line of work is made possible by a collaboration with the National Acoustic Laboratories in Australia, where a purpose-built facility for simulating complex acoustical scenes has been built. These new tests are aimed at capturing critical aspects of everyday communication situations, but with good experimental control, in order to enable accurate predictions of real-world performance.

Publications

Journal papers

1.      V. Best, C. R. Mason, J. Swaminathan, E. Roverud and G. Kidd (2017). Use of a glimpsing model to understand the performance of listeners with and without hearing loss in spatialized speech mixtures. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 141:81-91.

2.      V. Best, T. Streeter, E. Roverud, C. Mason and G. Kidd (2016). A flexible question-and-answer task for measuring speech understanding. Trends in Hearing 20. doi: 10.1177/2331216516678706

3.      J. Swaminathan, C. R. Mason, T. Streeter, V. Best, E. Roverud and G. Kidd (2016). Role of binaural temporal fine structure and envelope cues in cocktail-party listening. Journal of Neuroscience 36(31):8250-8257.

4.      G. Kidd, C. R. Mason, V. Best, J. Swaminathan, E. Roverud and K. K. Clayton (2016). Determining the energetic and informational components of speech-on-speech masking. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 140(1):132-144.

5.      T. Weller, J. Buchholz, V. Best, T. Young (2016). A method for assessing auditory spatial analysis in reverberant multi-talker environments. Journal of the American Academy of Audiology 27(7):601-611.

6.      V. Best, G. Keidser, K. Freeston and J. M. Buchholz (2016). A dynamic speech comprehension test for assessing real-world listening ability. Journal of the American Academy of Audiology 27(7):515-526.

7.      E. Roverud, V. Best, C. Mason, J. Swaminathan, G. Kidd (2016). Informational masking in normal-hearing and hearing-impaired listeners measured in a nonspeech pattern identification task. Trends in Hearing 20. doi: 10.1177/2331216516638516

8.      T. Weller, J. Buchholz and V. Best (2016). Auditory masking of speech in reverberant multi-talker environments. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 139(3):1303-1313.

9.      V. Best, G. Keidser, J. M. Buchholz and K. Freeston (2016). Development and preliminary evaluation of a new test of ongoing speech comprehension. International Journal of Audiology 55(1):45-52.

10.    H. Glyde, J. M. Buchholz, L. Nielsen, V. Best, H. Dillon, S. Cameron and L. Hickson (2015). Effect of audibility on spatial release from speech-on-speech masking. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 138(5):3311-3319.

11.    J. Swaminathan, C. R. Mason, T. M. Streeter, V. Best, G. Kidd and A. D. Patel (2015). Musical training, individual differences and the cocktail party problem. Scientific Reports 5:11628.

12.    V. Best, J. Mejia, K. Freeston, R. J. van Hoesel and H. Dillon (2015). An evaluation of the performance of two binaural beamformers in complex and dynamic multitalker environments. International Journal of Audiology 54(10):727-735.

13.    V. Best, G. Keidser, J. Buchholz and K. Freeston (2015). An examination of speech reception thresholds measured in a simulated reverberant cafeteria environment. International Journal of Audiology 54(10):682-690.

14.    G. Kidd, C. R. Mason, V. Best and J. Swaminathan (2015). Benefits of acoustic beamforming for solving the cocktail party problem. Trends in Hearing 19:1-15.

15.    G. Keidser, V. Best, K. Freeston, A. Boyce (2015). Cognitive Spare Capacity: Evaluation data and its association with comprehension of dynamic conversations. Frontiers in Psychology, Auditory Cognitive Neuroscience 6:597.

16.    V. Best, C. R. Mason, G. Kidd, N. Iyer and D. S. Brungart (2015). Better-ear glimpsing in hearing-impaired listeners. J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 137(2):EL213-EL219.

17.    V. Durin, S. Carlile, P. Guillon, V. Best and S. Kalluri (2014). Acoustic analysis of the directional information captured by five different hearing aid styles. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 136(2):818-828.

18.    G. Kidd, C. R. Mason and V. Best (2014). The role of syntax in maintaining the integrity of streams of speech. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 135(2):766-777.

19.    G. Kidd, C. R. Mason, T. Streeter, E. R. Thompson, V. Best and G. Wakefield (2013). Perceiving sequential dependencies in auditory streams. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 134(2):1215-1231.

20.    H. Glyde, J. Buchholz, H. Dillon, V. Best, L. Hickson and S. Cameron (2013). The effect of better-ear glimpsing on spatial release from masking. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 134(4):2937-2945.

21.    V. Best, C. R. Mason, E. R. Thompson and G. Kidd (2013). An energetic limit on spatial release from masking. Journal of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology 14(4):603-610.

22.    V. Best, C. R. Mason, E. R. Thompson and G. Kidd (2013). Spatial release from masking as a function of the spectral overlap of competing talkers. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 133(6):3677-3680.

23.    L. Varghese, E. J. Ozmeral, V. Best and B. G. Shinn-Cunningham (2012). How visual cues for when to listen aid selective auditory attention. Journal of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology 13(3):359-368.

24.    V. Best, C. R. Mason and G. Kidd (2012). The influence of non-spatial factors on measures of spatial release from masking. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 131(4):3103-3110.

25.    V. Best, P. Majdak and B. Laback (2011). Binaural interference in bilateral cochlear implant listeners. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 130(5):2939-2950.

26.    V. Best, S. Carlile, N. Kopčo and A. van Schaik (2011). Localization in speech mixtures by listeners with hearing loss. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 129(5):EL210-215.

27.    V. Best, C. R. Mason and G. Kidd (2011). Spatial release from masking in normally hearing and hearing-impaired listeners as a function of the temporal overlap of competing talkers. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 129(3):1616-1625.

28.    G. Kidd, C. R. Mason, V. Best and N. Marrone (2010). Stimulus factors influencing spatial release from speech-on-speech masking. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 128(4):1965-1978.

29.    V. Best, S. Kalluri, S. McLachlan, S. Valentine, B. Edwards and S. Carlile (2010). A comparison of CIC and BTE hearing aids for three-dimensional localization of speech. International Journal of Audiology 49(10):723-732.

30.    W. Hartmann, V. Best, J. Leung and S. Carlile (2010). Phase effects on the perceived elevation of complex tones. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 127(5):3060-3072.

31.    V. Best, B. G. Shinn-Cunningham, E. Ozmeral and N. Kopčo (2010). Exploring the benefit of auditory spatial continuity. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 127(6): EL258-EL264.

32.    N. Kopčo, V. Best and S. Carlile (2010). Speech localization in a multitalker mixture. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 127(3):1450-1457.

33.    V. Best, F. J. Gallun, C. R. Mason, G. Kidd and B. G. Shinn-Cunningham (2010). The impact of hearing loss on the processing of simultaneous sentences. Ear and Hearing 31(2):213-220.

34.    M. L. Dent, E. M. McClaine, V. Best, E. Ozmeral, R. Narayan, F. J. Gallun, K. Sen and B. G. Shinn-Cunningham (2009). Spatial unmasking of birdsong in zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) and budgerigars (Melopsittacus undulatus). Journal of Comparative Psychology 123(4):357-367.

35.    V. Best, N. Marrone, C. R. Mason, G. Kidd and Barbara G Shinn-Cunningham (2008). Effects of sensorineural hearing loss on visually guided attention in a multi-talker environment. Journal of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology 10(1):142-149.

36.    G. Kidd, V. Best and C. R. Mason (2008). Listening to every other word: Examining the strength of linkage variables in forming streams of speech. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 124(6):3793-3802.

37.    B. G. Shinn-Cunningham and V. Best (2008). Selective attention in normal and impaired hearing. Trends in Amplification 12(4):283-299.

38.    V. Best, E. Ozmeral, N. Kopčo and B. G. Shinn-Cunningham (2008). Object continuity enhances selective auditory attention. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 105(35):13173-13177.

39.    F. J. Gallun, N. I. Durlach, H. S. Colburn, B. G. Shinn-Cunningham, V. Best, C. R. Mason and G. Kidd (2008). The extent to which a position-based explanation accounts for binaural release from informational masking. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 124(1):439-449.

40.    Narayan, V. Best, E. Ozmeral, E. McClaine, M. Dent, B. G. Shinn-Cunningham and K. Sen (2007). Cortical interference effects in the cocktail party problem. Nature Neuroscience 10(12):1601-1607.

41.    V. Best, E. J. Ozmeral and B. G. Shinn-Cunningham (2007). Visually-guided attention enhances target identification in a complex auditory scene. Journal of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology 8:294-304.

42.    V. Best, F. J. Gallun, B. G. Shinn-Cunningham and S. Carlile (2007). Binaural interference and auditory grouping. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 121: 1070-1076.

43.    N. Kopčo, V. Best and B. G. Shinn-Cunningham (2007). Sound localization with a preceding distractor. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 121: 420-432.

44.    V. Best, F. J. Gallun, A. Ihlefeld and B. G. Shinn-Cunningham (2006). The influence of spatial separation when listening to two simultaneous talkers. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 120: 1506-1516.

45.    V. Best, E. Ozmeral, F. J. Gallun, K. Sen and B. G. Shinn-Cunningham (2005). Spatial unmasking of birdsong in human listeners: Energetic and informational factors. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 118: 3766-3773.

46.    V. Best, S. Carlile, C. Jin and A. van Schaik (2005). The role of high frequencies in speech localization. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 18(1): 353-363.

47.    V. Best, A. van Schaik, C. Jin and S. Carlile (2005). Auditory spatial perception with sources overlapping in frequency and time. Acta Acustica united with Acustica 91(3): 421-428.

48.    V. Best, A. van Schaik and S. Carlile (2004). Separation of concurrent broadband sound sources by human listeners. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 115(1):324-336.

49.    S. Carlile and V. Best (2002). Discrimination of sound source velocity in human listeners. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 111(2):1026-1035.

Book chapters

1.     B. Shinn-Cunningham, V. Best and A. K. C. Lee (in press). Auditory Object Formation and Selection.

2.     Best, C. R. Mason, J. Swaminathan, G. Kidd, K. M. Jakien, S. D. Kampel, F. J. Gallun, J. M. Buchholz and H. Glyde (2016). On the Contribution of Target Audibility to Performance in Spatialized Speech Mixtures. In: Physiology, Psychoacoustics and Cognition in Normal and Impaired Hearing. Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology 894, P van Dijk, D. Baskent, E. Goudrain, E. de Kleine, A. Wagner and C. Lanting (eds.). NewYork: Springer, pp. 83-91.

3.     B. Shinn-Cunningham and V. Best (2015). Auditory Selective Attention. In: The Handbook of Attention, J. Fawcett, E. Risko and A. Kingstone (eds.), Cambridge: MIT Press, 99-118.

4.     C. Jin, G. Lin. V. Best and S. Carlile (2011). Spatial Unmasking of Speech Based on Near-Field Distance Cues. In: Biomedical Engineering, A. McEwan and G. Gargiulo (eds.), Sydney: InTech.

5.     V. Best, D. S. Brungart, S. Carlile, C. Jin, E. A. Macpherson, R. L. Martin, K. I. McAnally, A. T. Sabin and B. D. Simpson (2011). A meta-analysis of localization errors made in the anechoic free field. In: Principles and Applications of Spatial Hearing, Y. Suzuki, D. Brungart, Y. Iwaya, K. Iida, D. Cabrera and H. Kato (eds.). Singapore: World Scientific.

6.     D. Alais, V. Best, P. Niall, C. Semmler and D. Woolford (2010). Hearing and the perception of sound. In: Expert Evidence, I. Freckleton and H. Selby (eds.), Australia: Thompson Reuters, pp. 145-1-145-13058.

7.     S. C. Peres, V. Best, D. Brock, C. Frauenberger, T. Hermann, J. G. Neuhoff, L. Valgerdaeur, B. G. Shinn-Cunningham and T. Stockman (2008). Auditory Interfaces. In: HCI Beyond the GUI: The Human Factors of Non-traditional Interfaces, P. Kortum (ed.), Burlington MA: Morgan Kaufman.

8.     B. G. Shinn-Cunningham, V. Best, M. L. Dent, F. J. Gallun, E. M. McClaine, R. Narayan, E. Ozmeral and K. Sen (2007). Behavioral and Neural Identification of Birdsong under Several Masking Conditions. In: Hearing - From Sensory Processing to Perception, B. Kollmeier, G. Klump, V. Hohmann, U. Langemann, M. Mauermann, S. Uppenkamp and J. Verhey (eds.). Berlin: Springer Verlag, pp. 207-214.