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Cochlear implants and spatial hearing: Enabling access to the next dimension of hearing


The loss of inner hair cells in the cochlea causes deafness. Since the first trial of a cochlear implant in 1957, cochlear implants have been developed to the point where they can (re-)restore hearing and speech understanding in a large proportion of patients. Although spatial hearing is central to controlling and directing attention and to enabling speech understanding in noisy environments it has been largely neglected. In current implants, matching of binaural information, a basic prerequisite for spatial hearing, is not yet implemented. Furthermore, intensive rehabilitation programs are lacking. The here proposed interdisciplinary doctoral network in which physicians, psychologists and engineers collaborate, aims at the improvement of spatial hearing in cochlear implant users. In ten different interconnected projects spatial hearing will be improved by (1) applying machine learning algorithms to identify sounds sources and to provide the information to CI users through visual or tactile spatial cues, (2) examining physiological impairments of spatial hearing in CI users and matching the imbalance of the binaural inputs, and by (3) patient-centered training programs that make use of virtual environments. The doctoral training network will provide the next generation of researchers and engineers that will have a good understanding of the multifaceted problems of spatial hearing and that will be equipped with expertise and skills to come up with innovative solutions in this field. The collaboration between academia and the private sector enables the realisation of new solutions for spatial hearing with CIs, thus enabling deaf patients to substantially improve their hearing.


Net EU contribution
€ 781 617,60
72074 Tuebingen

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Baden-Württemberg Tübingen Tübingen, Landkreis
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
No data

Participants (6)

Partners (5)