Dr. Colleen Le Prell
Professor and Program Head, Audiology AuD
Emilie and Phil Schepps Distinguished Professor in Hearing Science
Le Prell is one of the leading researchers in the area of hearing loss prevention. Her work has emphasized the identification of cell death pathways activated by noise, and assessment of therapeutic agents that prevent cell death and hearing loss. It is a highly translational program; data from basic scientific experiments drive human clinical investigations.
Noise-induced hearing loss is one of the most frequent injuries among workers and soldiers, and there are concerns that the prevalence of noise-induced hearing loss may be increasing in teenagers and young adults.
“My research program spans the scientific translational spectrum — from basic scientific investigations that identify promising therapeutic agents for prevention of noise-induced hearing loss to the assessment of these agents in clinical trials,” Le Prell said. “Drugs that are approved for prevention of hearing loss are needed because hearing protection devices such as ear plugs and ear muffs may not be available when needed, are often used incorrectly, or are simply not used by choice. Soldiers and police may need to preserve situational awareness, and many other individuals choose not to use ear plugs because of the recreational nature of the sound to which they are exposed, such as concerts or nightclubs.
“Additional research studies assess educational and outreach strategies that we hope might promote adoption of electronic earmuffs and flat-attenuation ‘musicians’ earplugs, which are able to solve some of those challenges.”
Le Prell heads one of the top-ranked audiology programs in the country, which is based at the Callier Center for Communication Disorders.
Before joining UT Dallas, Dr. Le Prell served as director of the Hearing Research Center and interim chair of the Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences at the University of Florida. Dr. Le Prell received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota and her master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Michigan.
Emilie and Phil Schepps established the professorship in 2005 to support research activities at the Callier Center related to improving treatment and services for people with hearing disorders. Le Prell was appointed to the post in 2015.
Le Prell oversees the acclaimed audiology program at the Callier Center, which includes research in such areas as hearing devices, hearing loss, cochlear implants, and tinnitus. The audiology PhD program is ranked No. 3 by U.S. News & World Report.
“The Callier Center is one of the premiere communication institutions with a very good reputation for research, and it is known for outstanding clinical services and clinical training. I am pleased to be working with students who will drive the audiology field forward and who are preparing to be future leaders.”