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Susan Voss

Achilles Professor of Engineering

Susan Voss


Ford Hall 353


Susan Voss is an electrical engineer and scientist in the field of speech and hearing. Her research focuses on sound transmission in normal and diseased ears. Her work has applications in audiometric instrumentation, surgical auditory implants and aids for the hearing impaired.

Voss’s research lab focuses on basic science questions related to the structure and function of the peripheral auditory system and the development of absorbance measurements as a noninvasive diagnostic for middle-ear problems.  Current work includes: (1) development and maintenance of a WAI (wideband acoustic immittance) database of all published measurements; (2) systematic study of ear canal geometry and how it changes with age; and (3) how ear-canal geometry and probe placement affects WAI measurements. Voss also collaborates on a NASA-funded project that aims to develop a noninvasive tool to monitor changes in intracranial pressure using the auditory response of otoacoustic emissions.

Voss received her bachelor of science in engineering from Brown University (1991) where she worked on computer speech recognition. At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), she received her master’s degree (1995) from the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and her doctorate (1998) from the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology.

Voss joined the faculty of the Picker Engineering Program at Smith College in January 2001. She has taught several courses, including Introduction to Engineering: Energy and the Environment, Circuit Theory, Signals and Systems, and Acoustics. She also supervises student research.

With her sister Amy, Voss was a member of the U.S. Sailing Team (1990–92). Together they won the 1991 Pan-American Games in Havana, Cuba, and placed third in the 1992 U.S. Olympic Trials. Voss grew up in Holmdel, New Jersey, and now lives in Northampton with her husband, Paul Voss. She enjoys visits from her two adult children, hiking, kayaking, reading, gardening, and spending time with her dog.

Selected Publications

** Denotes undergraduate author

Sun J.**, Horton NJ and Voss SE. 2023 “Absorbance Measurements From Normal-hearing Ears in the National Health and NutritionExamination Survey, 2015-2016and 2017-2020” Ear and Hearing 2023; 44(5):1282-1288. 

Balouch AP**, Bekhazi K**, Durkee HE**, Farrar RM**, Sok M**, Keefe DH, Remenschneider AK, Horton NJ and Voss SE. “Measurements of ear-canal geometry from high-resolution CT scans of human adult ears” Hearing Research 2023; 434:1-12. 

Voss SE, Horton NJ, Fairbank KE, Xia L, Tinglin RK, Girardin KD. “Measurements of ear-canal cross-sectional areas from live human ears with implications for wideband acoustic immittance measurements” J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 2020; 148:3042–3051

Voss SE. “An online wideband acoustic immittance (WAI) database and corresponding website” Ear and Hearing. 2019; 40(6):1481.

Voss SE, Herrmann,B. S., Horton, N. J.,Amadei, E. A.**, Kujawa,S. G. “Reflectance Measures from Infant Ears With Normal Hearing and Transient Conductive Hearing Loss” Ear and Hearing. 2016; 37(5):560-71.

Bershad EM, Urfy MZ, Pechacek** A, McGrath** M, Calvillo E, Horton NJ and Voss SE. “Intracranial pressure modulates distortion product otoacoustic emissions: A proof of principle study” Neurosurgery. 2014; 75:445-455.

Abur D.**, Horton NJ, Voss SE. “Intra-subject variability in power reflectance,” Journal of the American Academy of Audiology. 2014; 25:441-448.

Voss SE, Merchant** GR, Horton, NJ . “Effects of middle-ear disorders on power reflectance measured in cadaveric ear canals.” Ear and Hearing. 2012; 33:195-20

Voss SE, AllenJ. “Measurement of acoustic impedance and reflectance in the humanear canal.” J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 1994; 95:372-384

Selected Honors and Awards

  • R15 AREA grant from NIH for her project: “Development of a normative database for wide-band acoustic immittance measures” July 2014 - June 2024.
  • Young Investigator Talk at the 2013 American Auditory Society Meeting: “Translational Research: Engineering, clinical relevance, and the liberal arts”
  • NSF CAREER AWARD: Acoustic Energy Flow Through Normal and Abnormal Middle Ears
  • Frontiers in Education New Faculty Fellow
  • AT&T Graduate Research Program for Women Grant

Tau Beta Pi National Laureate Award


Ph.D., M.S., Massachusetts Institute of Technology
B.S., Brown University

Selected Works in Smith ScholarWorks