Research Overview


At Lamar University, we are uniquely situated to generate innovative research that is responsive to current healthcare and educational needs and relevant to clinical SLPs and AUDs. By applying new models of rapid, responsive, relational research and translational research, the faculty and graduate students at Lamar University are leaders in moving the clinical science of the SPHS field forward. Application of such models meets the needs of large populations while addressing unique client experiences. Further, contemporary theories for treatment protocols in speech-language pathology and audiology are advanced.

A theme through the research endeavors at Lamar University is to engage all stakeholders in the research process and develop ongoing relationships between healthcare providers, educators, and clients. The SPHS Department has an established reputation in the region which enables access and engagement between healthcare providers, educators, and clients. Moreover, beyond our regional relationships we have extensive national and international relationships. Our faculty have active collaborations with researchers from over 10 countries across the globe.

The following labs exemplify our mission.

Digital Technologies Lab (Dr. Monica Bellon-Harn)

SPHS faculty are leading research teams organized to examine digital technologies and consumer health informatics in the care and management of health and disability. The SPHS Department was awarded funding ($300,000 across 3 years) through the Presidential Visionary Grant at Lamar University to launch this line of inquiry.

Three digital interventions are developed and under evaluation.

1. Tackling Tinnitus: Team Leader - Dr. Vinaya Manachaiah

2. Success with Stories: Team Leader - Dr. Monica L. Bellon-Harn and Dr. Lekeitha Morris

3. Conversation Connection: Team Leader - Dr. Jamie Azios


Research dedicated to the understanding of consumer health informatics in SPHS are on- going. Recent publications include:

Bellon-Harn, M., Manchaiah, V., & Sashikanth, S. (in press). A Content Analysis of YouTube Videos Related to children with speech and language disorders. Journal of Consumer Health Information.

*Bellon-Harn, M., Ulep, A., Manchaiah, V., & Dueppen, A. (online version). Voice Online: A cross-sectional study of the portrayal of voice disorders in YouTube videos. Perspectives.

*Bellon-Harn, M., Manchaiah, V., & Kunda, K. (online version). Quality, readability and suitability of English-language Internet information about children with speech and language disorders. Digital Health Journal.

Manchaiah, V., Kelly-Campbell, R., Bellon-Harn, M., & Buekes, E. (online version). Quality, readability and suitability of hearing health related materials: A descriptive review. American Journal of Audiology.

Bellon-Harn, Ni, J., & Manchaiah, V. (online version). Twitter usage about Autism Spectrum Disorder. Autism.

*Manchaiah, V., Bellon-Harn, M., Godina, I., & Beukes, E. (online version). Portrayal of hearing loss in YouTube videos: An exploratory cross-sectional analysis. American Journal of Audiology.

Ni, J, Bellon-Harn, M., Zhang, J., Li, Y., & Manchaiah, V. (online version). Twitter usage using common reference to tinnitus. American Journal of Audiology.

Manchaiah, V., Bellon-Harn, M., Kelly-Campbell, R., Buekes, E., Bailey, A., & Pyykkő, Ilmari. (online version). Media use by older adults with hearing loss: An exploratory survey. American Journal of Audiology.

*Manchaiah, V., Bellon-Harn, M., Michaels, M., & Buekes, E. (online version). A Content Analysis of YouTube Videos Related to Hearing Aids. American Journal of Audiology.

Bellon-Harn, M., Manchaiah, V., & Morris, L. (2020). Autism Online: A cross-sectional study of the portrayal of Autism Spectrum Disorders in YouTube videos. Autism, 24(1), 263-268.

Dueppen, A., Bellon-Harn, M., & Manchaiah, V. (2019). Suitability of English language Internet-based information for voice disorders. Journal of Voice, online version.

Azios, J. H., Bellon-Harn, M., Dockens, A. L., & Manchaiah, V. (2019). Quality and readability of English-language internet information for aphasia. International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 21(1), 1-9.

Dueppen, A., Bellon-Harn, M., Radhakrishnan, N., & Manchaiah, V. (2019). Quality and readability of Internet-based information for voice disorders. Journal of Voice, 33(3), 290-296.

* Bellon-Harn, M. L., Smith, D. J., Dockens, A. L., Manchaiah, V., & Azios, J. H. (2018). Quantity, quality, and readability of online information for college students with ASD seeking student support services. Reading Improvement, 55(1).

Manchaiah, V., Dockens, A., Flagge, A., Bellon-Harn, M., Azios, J., Kelly-Campbell, R. & Andersson, G. (2018). Quality and readability of English-language Internet information for tinnitus. Journal of the American Academy of Audiology, 30(1), 31-40.

Aphasia Conversation Lab (Dr. Jamie Azios)

The Aphasia Conversation Lab is clinical research laboratory developed to advance interactional research in aphasia, train clinicians on functional treatment approaches, and provide support to persons with aphasia as they move through the continuum of recovery. Research in this lab is focused on understanding the co-construction of conversation between persons with aphasia and primary communication partners and developing innovative, evidence-based intervention techniques that improve conversational abilities. Our primary goal is to help persons with aphasia overcome communicative barriers associated with aphasia and learn to live a successful and satisfactory life after aphasia.

Self-Management Lab (Dr. Vinaya Manchaiah)

The primary goal of this lab is to develop strategies to promote self-management to improve accessibility, affordability and outcomes of hearing healthcare services. To achieve this, the research conducted on this lap specifically focuses on: (1) developing self-assessment and self-management approaches for hearing and balance disorders with low medical risk to improve accessibility and affordability; (2) developing and promoting self-management approaches to supplement routine clinical care to improve hearing health outcomes; and (3) understanding the individual (or personal) and environmental (or societal) factors influence on health outcomes and to use them as facilitators in achieving optimal outcome.

Southeast Texas Stuttering Clinic and Lab (Dr. Michael Azios)

The Southeast Texas Stuttering Clinic serves a dual purpose for research and clinical training. The clinic focuses on teaching persons who stutter of all ages and their families about the experience of stuttering, address negative attitudes and feelings about speaking, teach helpful ways to cope with stuttering, and how to use effective techniques to improve communicative ability. It is our hope that all persons who stutter learn to become active agents in their world and are able to overcome whatever speaking obstacles come their way.

Integrated Language Treatment Lab (Dr. Monica Bellon-Harn)

The primary goal of this lab is to develop treatment approaches and clinical strategies to target multiple domains of language simultaneously with children with language and phonological disorders. Hypotheses are guided by theories that conceptualize communicative behavior as a dynamic system with interaction and interdependencies across component domains. Research conducted in this lab specifically focuses on: (1) developing operational treatment protocols; (2) examining treatments via single-subject and group comparisons research designs; (3) understanding factors related to treatment intensity; and (4) examining treatments in the public-school milieu.

Vestibular Assessment and Rehabilitation Lab (Dr. Lilian Felipe)

The primary goals of this lab include (1) to provide of clinical services in the assessment of balance and dizziness; (2) to conduct research in vestibular physiology in both health and pathology; and (3) to improve balance and treat vestibular disorders.

Hearing Healthcare Lab (Dr. Ashley L. Dockens)

The primary goal of this lab is to promote a patient-centered approach to hearing healthcare services. Multiple domains of hearing healthcare are targeted, with hypotheses guided by theories that support a functional, biopsychosocial view of rehabilitative hearing care. Research conducted in this lab specifically focus on: (1) Patient-centeredness in communication sciences and disorders; (2) Patient-Professional interactions; (3) Re-emergence of aural rehabilitation in the profession; (4) Accessibility and patient comprehension of education materials; and (5) Student training in rehabilitative hearing healthcare.

Voice Lab and Vocology Clinic (Dr. Nandhu Radhakrishnan)

This lab functions to satisfy goals in the areas of teaching, research, student training, and community service. The aims of this lab are to study human voice production, assess measures of voice produced by patients and implement treatment strategies, explore vocal parameters of professional voice users such as singers and actors, design programs towards prevention of voice disorders and enhancement of voice in clients to meet the vocal demands they face in their daily life. The state-of-the-art equipment in this lab enables students both within the department and across campus learn vocal arts and science and evaluation of disorders.

Cochlear Implant Lab (Dr. Lilian Felipe)

This lab develops custom research interfaces to investigate the perception of different sounds by cochlear implant users. The overall goal is to determine whether auditory processes not currently incorporated in cochlear implants (such as adaptation) can provide a more natural hearing experience through the implant. Another important issue is how to facilitate the understanding of speech in background noises, which is presently a serious problem for cochlear implant users.

Human Auditory Evoked Potential Lab (Dr. Lilian Felipe)

This lab is equipped with instrumentation necessary to record and analyze a wide range of auditory-evoked potentials from human subjects. The general goal of most of the experiments conducted in this laboratory is to evaluate the extent to which these evoked potential measures can be used to predict performance on a range of different listening tasks and diverse disorders and pathologies.

The EMPOWER Lab (Dr. Lekeitha R. Morris) 

The goal of The EMPOWER Lab is to produce research that transforms the lives of families and students we aim to serve. The work in the lab focuses on language development and disorders, caregiver training and prevention models with a specific focus on culturally and linguistically diverse populations, and advising, recruiting, and retaining minority students into the fields of speech-language pathology and audiology.   Various projects address language enrichment and prevention through caregiver training and community-based language enrichment opportunities. EMPOWER is also dedicated to work that focuses on increasing the number of African-American SLPs and audiologists. We are engaged in work that examines the processes of advising, recruiting, and retaining minority students into the fields of speech-language pathology and audiology. Additionally, this work examines factors related to challenges of being a first-generation college student and other factors (i.e. sense of belonging, microaggressions, etc.) faced by many Black students attending majority institutions.   

Purpose of the work done in The EMPOWER Lab is to promote:  

Early intervention services related to primary and secondary prevention  

Mentoring students in an effort to increase the number of African-Americans in the professions 

Progression toward a profession that truly values diversity in action and representation 

Outreach into the community to ensure partnerships are equal and beneficial beyond data collection  

Work that respects and values the individuals impacted by the research. Work of The EMPOWER Lab strives to celebrate Black students and caregivers highlighting their WORTHINESS and right to be treated equitably.   

Enriching the opportunities of marginalized children and families through advocacy and education of the oppressor   

Research in the areas of prevention, advising, recruiting, and retaining minority students into the fields of speech-language pathology and audiology