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Conjoint Grant - 2020

Phase Contrast Cochlea

Detecting and ameliorating the impact of neural dead regions in cochlear implant users
Professor Colette McKay & Doctor Markus Dahm

Project Description

The aim of this project is to improve the outcomes (speech understanding or language development) of those cochlear implantees who currently gain poorer benefit compared to their peers. Currently a third of adults still need to supplement hearing with lipreading, and more than half of children with implants develop language at a poorer than half the rate of their normal hearing peers. Part of the the cause of the problem is patchy nerve survival in the cochlea. In this project, we will develop two easy clinical tests to detect regions of poor nerve survival in the cochlea that can be performed when the sound processor is being programmed (on requiring feedback from the patient and an automatic one for infants). We will then demonstrate that speech understanding can be improved in adults by amending the sound processor program to avoid these regions of poor nerve survival. If successful, the technique can be used when and adult or infant first gets a cochlear implant, so that optimal programmes are set up right from the start.

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