EE junior David Dolengewicz has been awarded a Mary Gates Research Scholarship, which will fund his research on how humans hear pitch. A competitive scholarship program, Mary Gates Research Scholarships allow students more time to focus on research by reducing their financial burden.
Dolengewicz will be working with Professor Les Atlas to research how humans hear pitch, which is critical for hearing tonal languages, distinguishing between voices in noisy settings and enjoying music. The research has applications for cochlear implants, which allow people who are profoundly deaf or hard-of-hearing to approach normal hearing by electrically stimulating the auditory nerve. Currently, when cochlear implant users hear music, every note essentially sounds the same. A musician, Dolengewicz plans to use his musical background and knowledge to extend current research in this area.
“As a musician, I’m excited to help people hear music who otherwise could not, but I’m also intrigued as to what they’re actually hearing,” Dolengewicz said. “What does music sound like to someone with a different mechanism for hearing? We have simulations, but they’re still only a guess at this profound meta-problem.”