Bilateral implantation has yielded considerable improvements in cochlear implant (CI) performance. However, bilateral CIs are generally programmed clinically as two independent devices. As a result, the full potential of bilateral implants remains untapped. Multiple electrodes can activate overlapping neural populations and thus cause similar percepts (""""""""perceptual overlap""""""""). Perceptual overlap between ears is critical for perceiving binaural cues, particularly interaural time difference. Bilateral CIs can be optimized to maximize the perceptual overlap of electrodes that are matched-up across ears (""""""""matching""""""""), which is not currently done clinically. Perceptual overlap within each ear can considerably limits CI performance. Bilateral CIs can be optimized to reduce the perceptual overlap between electrodes by dividing the signal across the ears, sending adjacent frequency regions to opposite ears (""""""""interleaving""""""""). With matching, where the same frequency regions are sent to both ears, electrodes that are bilaterally matched need to yield the maximum perceptual overlap. With interleaving, where signals from different frequency regions are sent to opposite ears, such pairings need to be avoided. The benefits of matching versus interleaving may vary across patients, and some patients may receive optimal benefit from combining the two methods over different portions of the electrode array. Our long-term goal is to optimize bilateral stimulation for difficult listening situations. We hypothesize that optimally pairing electrodes across ears will improve the perception of spatial cues. We also hypothesize that minimizing the perceptual overlap within and across ears will provide additional spectral cues. Finally, we hypothesize that combining bilateral matching and interleaving for different cochlear regions will maximize the benefit of bilateral implantation.

Public Health Relevance

Bilateral cochlear implant users have difficulty with challenging listening tasks such as understanding speech in noisy environments. The proposed research aims to optimize bilateral electric stimulation. The proposed research is clinically significant because it will help optimize the clinical fitting of bilateral cochlear implant patiens and will benefit cochlear implant users by improving their communication abilities, especially in difficult listening environments.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Institute
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)
Type
Small Research Grants (R03)
Project #
5R03DC013380-02
Application #
8725119
Study Section
Communication Disorders Review Committee (CDRC)
Program Officer
Donahue, Amy
Project Start
2013-08-20
Project End
2016-07-31
Budget Start
2014-08-01
Budget End
2015-07-31
Support Year
2
Fiscal Year
2014
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Name
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
Department
Other Health Professions
Type
Other Specialized Schools
DUNS #
City
Champaign
State
IL
Country
United States
Zip Code
61820
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Lawler, Marshall; Yu, Jeffrey; Aronoff, Justin M (2017) Comparison of the Spectral-Temporally Modulated Ripple Test With the Arizona Biomedical Institute Sentence Test in Cochlear Implant Users. Ear Hear 38:760-766
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Aronoff, Justin M; Padilla, Monica; Stelmach, Julia et al. (2016) Clinically Paired Electrodes Are Often Not Perceived as Pitch Matched. Trends Hear 20:
Aronoff, Justin M; Stelmach, Julia; Padilla, Monica et al. (2016) Interleaved Processors Improve Cochlear Implant Patients' Spectral Resolution. Ear Hear 37:e85-90
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Aronoff, Justin M; Padilla, Monica; Fu, Qian-Jie et al. (2015) Contralateral masking in bilateral cochlear implant patients: a model of medial olivocochlear function loss. PLoS One 10:e0121591
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