Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

How born-deaf people can hear

Scientists are studying how people who are born deaf can hear through the use of cochlear implants. This research is used to understand how the brain processes sound and will ultimately improve how cochlear implants are made.
How born-deaf people can hear
A cochlear implant is a neuroprosthetic device that stimulates the auditory nerve to allow deaf people to experience the sensation of sound. These sound simulations are limited, however, and do not allow for sound localisation, multiple speakers or music appreciation.

The EU-funded BRAINCI (Neural basis of auditory processing in young congenitally deaf subjects with cochlear implants) study investigated the formation of auditory pathways in the brain in order to better understand hearing and to improve cochlear implant design. BRAINCI studied prelingual users of cochlear implants to understand how they hear and interpret sound.

Prelingual users – people who were born deaf – develop their auditory system with the help of cochlear implants. BRAINCI hypothesised that the neural pathways of prelingual users develop differently to those of people who can hear.

During the study, a laboratory was established for this research in Croatia. BRAINCI formed part of the research done by the Speech and Hearing Research Lab at the University of Split, Croatia.

The Lab collaborates with Cochlear Ltd, and actively contributes to how cochlear implants are made. This collaboration also led to new sound processing equipment being installed in the Speech and Hearing Research Lab.

The research done by BRAINCI brings us one step closer to understanding how sound processing pathways in the brain work and develop. With this research, the Speech and Hearing Research Lab can help medical practitioners to design cochlear implants that cater to the specific needs of patients.

Related information


Born deaf, cochlear implants, auditory, prelingual, sound processing
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