Joseph Pillion, PhD,CCC-A

Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities
Kennedy Krieger Institute
707 North Broadway
Baltimore, MD 21205
Phone: 443-923-3233
Login to Update Your Profile
Last Updated: July 25, 2012

Joseph Pillion

Discipline Coordinators: Audiology
Discipline(s): Audiology
AUCD Council Membership: No Council Membership


Joseph P. Pillion, Ph.D.
Director of Audiology, Kennedy Krieger Institute

Dr. Joseph P. Pillion is an audiologist and Director of Audiology at Kennedy Krieger Institute. He is also an Assistant Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Biographical Sketch:

Dr. Pillion received his B.A. degree from Western Michigan University and his M.A. and Ph.D degrees from The Ohio State University. Dr. Pillion was a research associate at The Ohio State University from 1979-1981. He completed a Post-doctoral fellowship in audiology at Kennedy Krieger from 1982-1984. He continued his career working as a clinical audiologist at the Southside Virginia Training Center for two years. He returned to the Kennedy Krieger Institute in 1987 and has worked as an audiologist since that time. He became Clinical Manager of audiology in 1996 and the Director of Audiology in 1997. He has served as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine since 2001. Dr. Pillion is a member of the American Speech Language Hearing Association, the American Auditory Society, and the American Academy of Audiology.

Research Summary:

Since 1988 Dr. Pillion has been investigating the auditory status of children and adults with Rett syndrome. Rett syndrome is a neurodevelopmental disorder affecting predominately females with an incidence of 1 in 10000 to 22800. It is characterized by normal prenatal, perinatal and normal psychomotor development up to 6 to 18 months of age, followed by a loss of any acquired speech and purposeful hand use. Patients with Rett syndrome over time develop microcephaly, seizures, intermittent hyperventilation and stereotypical hand movements. Findings have included an association between auditory brainstem response abnormalities and the presence of seizures and hyperventilation. Evidence in the auditory brainstem response of neurodegenerative disease has not been observed for measurements taken at test intervals from 1 to 9 years apart. However, evidence of sensorineural hearing loss related to age and anticonvulsant use has been observed in a significant number of girls with Rett syndrome.

An additional area of research interest has been in developing methodology for estimation of peripheral auditory sensitivity with auditory evoked potential measurements and measurements of otoacoustic emissions. Procedures have been developed to accurately assess the peripheral auditory status of infants and children who can not perform for conventional audiometric techniques requiring a volitional response.

In collaboration with E. Mark Mahone, Ph.D. of the Kennedy Krieger Department of Neuropsychology, an auditory continuous performance test for preschoolers has been developed. This is part of a larger interest in the assessment of attentional and central auditory processing function in pre-school and school age children.

Recent Publications/Presentations:

Mahone, E.M., Pillion, J.P., Hoffman, J., Hiemenz, J.R., and Denckla, M.B. (2005). Construct validity for the auditory continuous performance test for preschoolers. Developmental Neuropsychology, 27 (1), 11-33.

Hattiangadi, N., Pillion, J.P., Solomine, B., Christensen, J., Trovato, M.,K., and Speedie, L. J. (2005). Characteristics of auditory agnosia in a child with severe traumatic brain injury: A case report. Brain and Language, 92 (1), 12-25.

Pillion, J.P. and Naidu, S. (2000). Auditory brainstem response findings in Rett syndrome: Stability over time. Journal of Pediatrics, 137, 393-396.

Pillion, J. P., Kharkar, S., Mahmood, A., Moser, H., and Shimizu, H. (2006). Auditory brainstem response findings and peripheral auditory sensitivity in adrenoleukodystrophy. Journal of the Neurological Sciences, 247 (2), 130-137.

Balfour, P.B., Pillion, J.P., Gaskin, A. E. (1998). Distortion product otoacoustic emission and auditory brain stem response measures of pediatric sensorineural hearing loss with islands of normal sensitivity. Ear and Hearing, 19, 463-472.

Pillion, J.P., Rawool, V.W., Bibat, G. and Naidu, S. (2003). Prevalence of peripheral hearing loss in Rett Syndrome. Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology, 45; 338-343.