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Andie DeFreese

PhD Candidate


  • B.S., Neuroscience & Disability Studies, 2019, Vanderbilt University (Nashville, TN)
  • Au.D., Audiology, 2023, Vanderbilt University (Nashville, TN)

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Research Description:

My research aims to better understand the variability in cochlear implant (CI) outcomes. Particularly, I focus on using measures of neural plasticity (e.g. fNIRS) to measure changes at the level of the cortex that occur during hearing loss and following implantation. I am also interested in seeing how genetic information can be used to help predict these differences, in plasticity and outcomes, for CI candidates.


  • Jay Sanders Honors in Audiology (2023)
  • Vanderbilt Doctor of Audiology Capstone Award Winner (2022)
  • Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) Trainee Scholarship (2019-2020)
  • Highest Honors in Neuroscience, Vanderbilt University (2019)


  1. DeFreese AJ, Camarata, S., Sunderahus, L, Holder, JT., Berg, KA., Lighterink, M., Gifford, RH. The impact of spectral and temporal processing on speech recognition in children with cochlear implants: a longitudinal study. Ear & Hearing. In Review: submitted August 2023.
  2. Berg KA, DeFreese AJ, Sisler-Dinwiddie AL, Labadie RF, Gifford RH. Clinical applications of spread of excitation. Otology & Neurotology. In Review: submitted August 2023
  3. DeFreese AJ, Lindquist NR, Shi L. Holder JT, Berg KA, Haynes DS, Gifford RH. The impact of daily processor use on adult cochlear implant outcomes: re-examining the roles of duration of deafness and age at implantation. Otology & Neurotology. In Review: submitted October 2022.
  4. Patro A, Holder JT, Brown CL, DeFreese AJ, Virgin FW, Perkins EL. Cochlear implantation in very young children with single-sided deafness. Otology & Neurotology. In Review: submitted October 2022.
  5. Sheffield SW, Butera IM, DeFreese AJ, Rogers BP, Wallace MT, Stecker CG, Larson ED, Lee AKC, Gifford RH. Sound level changes the auditory cortical activation detected with functional near-infrared spectroscopy. Brain Topography. In Review: submitted August 2022.
  6. Butera IB, Larson ED, DeFreese AJ, Lee AKC, Gifford RH, Wallace MT. Functional localization of audiovisual speech using near-infrared spectroscopy. Brain Topography. In Press: May 2022.
  7. Knight VF, Wright J, DeFreese AJ. Teaching Robotics Coding to a Student with ASD and Severe Problem Behavior. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. In Press: January 2019.