Communication Research Group

Communication Research Group

The communication research group has two major strands: Bilingual Speech Development, led by Dr Robert Mayr; and Healthy and Impaired Hearing, led by Dr Fei Zhao. Much of our work involves national and international collaborations, notably with universities in Europe, the USA, China and Japan. These have led to high-quality outputs in international journals, and presentations at national and international conferences. We have held grants from a number of funding bodies, including the EPSRC, the ESRC, the British Academy/Leverhulme Trust and HEFCW, and have several doctoral researchers.

Research Areas

Bilingual Speech Development

Our research on bilingual speech aims to gain a better understanding of speech development in bilinguals and multi-linguals across the lifespan, with a focus on the phonetic and phonologicaBilingual Speech Developmentl aspects of first and second language acquisition, first language attrition and atypical development. We are interested in speech perception as well as production, and use a number of behavioural measures, including acoustic methods of analysis and psycholinguistic experimentation. Current projects include work on the speech of heritage language speakers across generations, the phonetic characteristics of new speaker varieties and the effect of sibling status in the development of bilingual children.

Healthy and Impaired Hearing

 Our research into healthy and impaired hearing investigates the following areas of audiology:

  • age-related hearing impairment and social representation
  • model of patient-centred care and decision making in audiology
  • music over-exposure and hearing health education
  • middle-ear mechanisms in pathological conditions using varied and innovative approaches (e.g. clinical measurements vs. theoretical analysis)
  • music perception and hearing aids

Using cutting-edge technology and sophisticated behavioural measures, our research aims to gain a better understanding of the nature of hearing impairment and to find solutions in terms of clinical application and social impact.

Group Members

Dr Robert Mayr Rhonwen Lewis
Bilingual Speech Development
group leader and Senior
Lecturer in Linguistics
Lecturer and part-time
Academic Associate (PhD)
Healthy and Impaired Hearing group leader and Principal
Lecturer in Audiology


​Ms Anna Kowalska,
Part-time Academic Associate (PhD)
​Mr Craig Howard
Lecturer and part-time Academic Associate (PhD)
Dr Wenlong Xiong,
Academic Associate (PhD)
Ms Susan Oladeji
Academic Associate (PhD)



Professor Ineke Mennen, Universität Graz

Dr Bronwen Evans, University College London

Dr Simona Montanari, California State University

Dr Jonathan Morris, Cardiff University

Dr Yiqing Zheng, Sun Yat-sen University

Dr Qiang Li, Tianjin Technology University

Dr Vinaya Manchaiah, Lamar University

Professor John Culling, Cardiff University

Dr Joseph Kei, University of Queensland



Coleg Cymraeg Cynedlaethol, Academic Staffing Scheme: 75% of Welsh-medium lecturer post in Speech and Language Therapy, Cardiff Metropolitan University (2015-2020).

British Academy Small Research Grant (September 2012 - March 2014). "Socio-phonetic variation in a language contact situation: The case of Welsh and Welsh English" Principal Investigator: Dr Robert Mayr; Co-applicant: Professor Ineke Mennen.

Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, Welsh Medium Doctoral Studentship (September 2010 - ). "Early phonological development in Welsh-English bilingual children: typical and atypical patterns" Scholarship holder: Rhonwen Lewis (P/T).

Cardiff School of Sport & Health Sciences Small Research Grant (2007).

Chinese Association of Audiology and Beijing Bio-Engineering Research Centre. "Innovative Approaches for Investigating Hearing Sensitivity in Childhood Ottitis Media with Effusion: Clinical Investigation vs. Theoretic Analysis"

Cardiff Metropolitan University Accelerator Fund. "Effects of Advance Hearing Aid Features on Music Perception"

ESRC Festival of Social Science fund. "Hands on Experience of Music Exposure and Hearing Protection"

Oticon Foundation. "Attitude towards the uptake of hearing aids during the audiological rehabilitation process: A cross cultural comparison between India, China, Sweden and the UK"

British Council PMI2 UK-China China-UK Collaborative Partnerships. "Fast track hearing aids audiologist training project"


Key Publications 

Mayr R. and Siddika A. Inter-generational transmission in a minority language setting: Stop consonant production by Bangladeshi heritage children and adults. International Journal of Bilingualism. (accepted, 2016).

Mayr R., Howells G. & Lewis R. Asymmetries in phonological development: The case of word-final cluster acquisition in Welsh-English bilingual children. Journal of Child Language. 2015 Jan; 42 (1): 146-79.

Jiang W., Zhao F., Guderley N., Manchaiah V. Daily music exposure dose and hearing problems using personal listening devices in adolescents and young adults: A systematic review. International Journal of Audiology. 2016; 55 (4): 197-205.

Cai YX., Zheng YQ., Liang MJ., Zhao F., Yu GZ., Liu Y., Chen YB. Auditory Spatial Discrimination and the Mismatch Negativity Response in Hearing-Impaired Individuals. PLoS One, 2015 Aug; 10 (8): 1-18.