Justin Yao, PhD

Assistant Professor

Areas of Expertise Division of Research
Department(s) Otolaryngology


Justin Yao is an assistant professor at the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. Dr. Yao received his PhD at the University of California, Irvine where he studied the putative neural mechanisms of how our brains are able to disentangle different auditory objects (e.g., different speakers talking in a crowded room) in the environment. He completed his postdoctoral fellowship at New York University studying how developmental hearing loss induces lifelong changes to auditory perceptual skills.

He has provided the following statement about his labwork:

"In the Yao Lab, our goal is to develop a novel hearing-centric model for studying cognitive dysfunction. Hearing loss not only leads to poor speech perception but is strongly associated with cognitive decline and dementia. However, the neural basis of hearing loss-induced cognitive decline is relatively unclear.

Thus, we will utilize sophisticated animal behavioral training, and electrophysiological, computational, and neural circuit manipulation approaches to understand how developmental, age-related, and noise-induced hearing loss leads to overall cognitive dysfunction.

It is our hope that with readily available treatments for hearing loss (e.g., hearing aids, cochlear implants, etc.), this line of work will advance public health policy and improve future patient care."