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School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences - The University of Texas at Dallas

Emily Tobey


Emily Tobey


Vice Provost for Faculty Development;
Associate Vice President for Faculty Diversity;
Nelle C. Johnston Chair in Communication Disorders in Children

PhD, City University of New York

Speech Science and Cochlear Implants


CD J 2.16

214-905-2791 phone email


Dallas Cochlear Implant Program Laboratory website
















About Emily Tobey


Dr. Emily A. Tobey is the Nelle C. Johnston Chair in Communication Disorders in Children in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences at the University of Texas at Dallas. Dr. Tobey received her undergraduate and masters degree in speech-language pathology from New Mexico State University and Louisiana State University Medical Center. Her doctorate in speech science was obtained at the City University of New York in 1981. She has been employed as teacher of the deaf in the Orleans Parish School System in New Orleans, in addition, to her previous employment at the Louisiana State University Medical Center as an instructor, assistant professor, associate professor and professor in the Departments of Communication Disorders, Removable Prosthodontics, and Otorhinolaryngology. She has served as a researcher at Haskins Laboratories and Kresge Hearing Research Laboratory of the South.


Dr. Tobey has served as a Distinguished Lecturer-in-Residence, Department of Communication Sciences, Texas Woman's University and as a visiting research scholar at the Australian Bionic Ear and Hearing Research Institute of the University of Melbourne, the Pediatric Cochlear Implant Center of Nottingham, England and the Department of Otolaryngology at the University of Montpellier, France. She was named the Distinguished Academy Scientist by the Louisiana Academy of Sciences and Fellow of the American Speech-Language and Hearing Association and Acoustical Society of America. In 2001, she was named the University of Texas at Dallas Polykarp Kusch Lecturer: the highest honor an individual faculty member can receive from the University.


Research Interests


Dr. Tobey's current interests lie in the role of auditory feedback on the development and maintenance of speech and language. One primary approach she uses to investigate this area is to document the speech and language behaviors of individuals with profound hearing losses who receive a cochlear implant. Cochlear implants consist on internal components, an internal receiver and electrode array, which is surgically inserted into the cochlea (the snail-like organ of the ear), and three external components, a microphone, speech processor, and transmitter coil. The microphone picks up sound and transfers it to the speech processor that has software which extracts important aspects of the signal, converts it to electrical pulses of varying current which are delivered to the electrode array via the transmitter coil. Speech perception performance in these individuals is characterized by a great deal of variation, ranging from individuals who can simply detect the presence of a sound to individuals who can talk easily on the telephone. Likewise, speech production skills may range from a highly intelligible individual to an individual who must rely on sign language to communicate.


Dr. Tobey is currently conducting longitudinal studies contrasting speech perception, psychosocial and language development and quality of life measures in profoundly hearing impaired children who use cochlear implants. This National Institutes of Health funded study is being conducted in conjunction with the Johns Hopkins Medical Center and Cochlear Implant Centers in Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, California, and Maryland. She also is examining communication outcomes in the first large cohort of cochlear implanted children in the northern hemisphere. In this study, she and her colleague, Dr. Ann Geers, are examining the literacy levels associated with adolescent cochlear implant users as they prepare to graduate from high school. She also holds a third NIH grant evaluating how early ages of implantation influence sound and intelligibility in 3.5 and 4.5 year old cochlear implant children. Her laboratory also is conducting studies looking at brain blood flow in adult cochlear implant users in conjunction with the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. These studies have examined neural activity during listening tasks in normal hearing control subjects and adult users of cochlear implants whose speech perception abilities vary greatly.


She has held a National Institute of Health grants with the University of Texas at Austin examining early babbling behaviors in hearing impaired babies. In addition, she served as an investigator on a National Institute of Health grant examining the efficacy of different types of language intervention for children with specific language impairments. She currently collaborates with studies underway in England, France, and Australia. In addition, Dr. Tobey is coordinating the basic and clinical research efforts at the Callier Advanced Hearing Research Center. The Dallas Cochlear Implant Program, a joint enterprise between the University of Texas at Dallas, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and Children's Medical Center, and is currently participating in numerous FDA clinical trials of new cochlear implant devices.


Recent Publications


Warner-Czyz, A., Loy, B., Roland, P. and Tobey, E. A comparative study of psychosocial development in children who receive cochlear implants. Cochlear Implants intl., 1-10, 2013.


Tobey, E., Thal, D., Niparko, J., Eisenberg, L., Quittner, A. and Wang, N. and the CDaCI Investigative Team. Influence of implantation age on school-age language performance in pediatric cochlear implant users. Int. J. Aud., 52: 219-229, 2013.


Quittner A.L., Cruz, I., Barker, D., Tobey, E., Eisenberg, L. and Niparko, J. Effects of maternal sensitivity and cognitive and linguistic stimulation on cochlear implant users' language development over four years. J Pediatr., 162: 343-348, 2013.