Bases of Bimodal Benefit

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The bases of benefit from bimodal combinations of cochlear implant and hearing aid

A research project funded by Action on Hearlng Loss (formerly RNID)

Administrative Details
Grant Period: October 2010 - September 2013
Grant Award: £150k
 Grant Reference Number:
Investigator: Andrew Faulkner, Tim Green, Stuart Rosen
Research Associate: Marine Ardoint
Many cochlear implant users enjoy improved speech perception, particularly in noise, from using a contralateral hearing aid. However, uncertainty remains regarding the sources of bimodal benefit. The proposed work seeks to further develop our understanding of factors underlying bimodal benefit, helping to establish clinically applicable methods for optimally combining an implant and a contralateral hearing aid and extending the population of implant users able to benefit from residual hearing.

Our ongoing research on bimodal transmission of speech spectral information suggests potential for strategies that maximise overall spectral resolution by eliminating interaural overlap in frequency coverage. One element of the proposed work will use a sophisticated facility for examining spatial sound perception in order to confirm that such strategies would not eliminate useful spatial cues. Further elements will clarify the extent to which bimodal benefit depends primarily upon low frequency acoustic information and examine the effects on speech perception of a wide variety of manipulations of the acoustic signal. This will identify acoustic features responsible for bimodal benefit and distinguish different possible contributions of low frequency acoustic information to speech perception in noise such as direct phonetic information; segregation of target and noise; and triggers to glimpsing. Finally, limits will be established on the signal-to-noise ratios at which an ideal low-frequency acoustic signal can aid speech perception. This would provide crucial information with regard to the implementation of schemes aimed at improved speech perception by presenting simplified acoustic signals derived from noisy speech that are well matched to the capabilities of limited acoustic hearing.