Improving speech understanding of cochlear implant users with neural dead regions

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 Many cochlear implant users do not understand speech very well. One reason for this is the presence of neural ‘dead regions’ in the cochlea. These dead regions affect speech understanding by making it difficult for each component frequency in a speech signal to be independently heard. Thus, implant users experience a ‘scrambled’ speech signal. In this project, conducted with adult cochlear implant users, we will use a psychophysical method to determine which parts of the cochlear contain neural dead regions in each individual.

Project Details

Many cochlear implant users do not understand speech very well. One reason for this is the presence of neural ‘dead regions’ in the cochlea. These dead regions affect speech understanding by making it difficult for each component frequency in a speech signal to be independently heard. Thus, implant users experience a ‘scrambled’ speech signal. In this project, conducted with adult cochlear implant users, we will use a psychophysical method to determine which parts of the cochlear contain neural dead regions in each individual. Then we will construct an individualised program for each individual that avoids using intra-cochlear electrodes that are near those dead regions. We will then evaluate whether this new individualised program improves their speech understanding. This project is a major opportunity to actually improve the quality of life of cochlear implantees and contribute to novel clinical management techniques. This project will 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, cochlear implant programming

Suitable background of students:
This PhD project would suit a graduate with qualifications in audiology, neuroscience, engineering, experimental psychology, or related disciplines. 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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