Karen Doherty

Professor, Communication Sciences and Disorders, College of Arts & Sciences

Faculty Affiliate, Aging Studies Institute
Faculty Affiliate, Center for Aging and Policy Studies

Curriculum Vitae


As an affiliate of the Syracuse University Aging Studies Institute, I have been actively involved in aging research related to improving hearing communication for older adults. Hearing loss is the third most prevalent chronic disease affecting seniors. In fact two-thirds of Americans older than 70 years of age will have a hearing loss. I study both the effects of bottom up (peripheral hearing) and top-down (central processes) processing on older people’s ability to perceive speech. In addition, I evaluate factors that are associated with successful hearing aid use. The long-term goal of my research is to decrease an individual’s hearing handicap and increase the benefit and satisfaction they receive from using different types of hearing technology. Recently, we developed the Practical Hearing Aid Skills Test-Revised (PHAST-R) app (2018), which is a clinical tool for clinicians to objectively measure a hearing aid user’s ability to perform tasks representative of critical hearing aid use and care functions. This is important given one of the main reasons people do not wear their hearing aids is because they do not know how to correctly use them. Untreated hearing loss in older adults has been associated with depression and early cognitive decline. The new Over the Counter (OTC) Hearing Aid Act of 2017 should make hearing aids more accessible and affordable to the public.  In our current research, we are evaluating the Food and Drug Administration’s regulations for OTCs.


Ph.D., Audiology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1994
M.S., Audiology, University of Connecticut, 1987
B.S., Communicative Disorders, University of Rhode Island, 1985