As the only medical device that can restore hearing in deaf people, the cochlear implant has produced good speech recognition in quiet. However, the current implants are seriously limited in speech recognition in noise and in music perception. The long-term objectives of this research program are to understand signal processing in the normal auditory system and to restore functional hearing via auditory prostheses in hearing-impaired persons. Recent work from our laboratory and others has shown that pitch, temporal fine structure, and dynamic acoustic cues are crucial to improve realistic listening performance, but are not adequately encoded in current cochlear implants. Our working hypothesis is that extraction and encoding of these important cues will lead to an overall improvement in cochlear implant performance. We propose three novel methods to test this hypothesis. The three Specific Aims address each of these novel methods: (1) Co- vary stimulation rate and position to encode pitch;(2) Adapt modern vocoder algorithms to encode temporal fine structure;and (3) Use biologically-inspired signal processing to encode dynamic acoustic cues. Our multidisciplinary approach integrates psychophysical, speech coding, and signal processing techniques. A unique feature of this approach is that all algorithms are developed based on rigorous psychophysical and simulation measures, and will be evaluated and perfected in actual implant users with real-time implementations. Successful completion of the proposed research should yield results of high theoretical and practical significance. It will likely advance scientific knowledge on the centuries-old but still unresolved pitch coding question (Aim 1), bridge the technological gap between relatively rudimentary cochlear implants and modern telecommunication (Aim 2), and inspire translational work from basic research to clinical problems (Aim 3).

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)
Research Project (R01)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-IFCN-B (04))
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Miller, Roger
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University of California Irvine
Schools of Medicine
United States
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Chung, King; Zeng, Fan-Gang (2009) Using hearing aid adaptive directional microphones to enhance cochlear implant performance. Hear Res 250:27-37
Singh, Sonya; Kong, Ying-Yee; Zeng, Fan-Gang (2009) Cochlear implant melody recognition as a function of melody frequency range, harmonicity, and number of electrodes. Ear Hear 30:160-8
Desai, Sheetal; Stickney, Ginger; Zeng, Fan-Gang (2008) Auditory-visual speech perception in normal-hearing and cochlear-implant listeners. J Acoust Soc Am 123:428-40
Carroll, Jeff; Zeng, Fan-Gang (2007) Fundamental frequency discrimination and speech perception in noise in cochlear implant simulations. Hear Res 231:42-53
Wei, Chaogang; Cao, Keli; Jin, Xin et al. (2007) Psychophysical performance and Mandarin tone recognition in noise by cochlear implant users. Ear Hear 28:62S-65S
Stickney, Ginger S; Assmann, Peter F; Chang, Janice et al. (2007) Effects of cochlear implant processing and fundamental frequency on the intelligibility of competing sentences. J Acoust Soc Am 122:1069-78
Bhattacharya, Aparajita; Zeng, Fan-Gang (2007) Companding to improve cochlear-implant speech recognition in speech-shaped noise. J Acoust Soc Am 122:1079-89
Kong, Ying-Yee; Zeng, Fan-Gang (2006) Temporal and spectral cues in Mandarin tone recognition. J Acoust Soc Am 120:2830-40
Nie, Kaibao; Barco, Amy; Zeng, Fan-Gang (2006) Spectral and temporal cues in cochlear implant speech perception. Ear Hear 27:208-17
Liu, Sheng; Zeng, Fan-Gang (2006) Temporal properties in clear speech perception. J Acoust Soc Am 120:424-32

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