Exploring the effect of neural dead regions in the cochlea on hearing with a cochlear implant

Research Opportunity
PhD
Number of Honour Places Available
1
Department
Medical Bionics Department
Location
Bionics Institute
Primary Supervisor Email Number Webpage
Prof Colette McKay cmckay@bionicsinstitute.org

Summary Neural dead regions in the cochlea are regions of the cochlea in a deaf person where there is poor survival of auditory nerve cells. Such regions are not suitable for electrical stimulation with a cochlear implant, but are difficult to identify. The presence of these regions is one main reason that some cochlear implant users do not understand speech well. This project, undertaken with cochlear implant users, will develop an objective method for identifying these dead regions in individuals.

Project Details

Neural dead regions in the cochlea are regions of the cochlea in a deaf person where there is poor survival of auditory nerve cells. Such regions are not suitable for electrical stimulation with a cochlear implant, but are difficult to identify. The presence of these regions is one main reason that some cochlear implant users do not understand speech well. This project, undertaken with cochlear implant users, will develop an objective method for identifying these dead regions in individuals.  Currently we have psychophysical methods that provide clues to the presence of dead regions, but these methods are not suitable for clinical use, or in young children. The project will use electrophysiological methods combined with psychophysical methods to both develop the objective diagnostic tool and to understand more fully what the impact of dead regions are on hearing ability with a cochlear implant.
This project will support potentially lead to new clinical procedures to optimize the programming of cochlear implants for individual people.

General methods to be used in the project:
psychophysics, electrophysiology, speech understanding

Suitable background of students:
This PhD project would suit a graduate with qualifications in audiology, neuroscience, engineering, experimental psychology, or related disciplines. Experience with EEG would be an advantage and strong skills in data analysis. Strong interpersonal skills are required as the student will be working directly with deaf individuals with a cochlear implant



Faculty Research Themes

Neuroscience



Research Opportunities

PhD
Students who are interested in joining this project will need to consider their elegibility as well as other requirements before contacting the supervisor of this research

Graduate Research application

Honours application

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact a supervisor.

Department

Medical Bionics Department

Research Node

Bionics Institute

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