Automatic programming for cochlear implants

Background

Babies as young as four months are now receiving a cochlear implant. Therefore, a method is urgently needed to be able to program the implant without asking the person when they hear a sound or how loud it is. The current method that aims to do this, using measurements of the auditory nerve’s response to single stimulus pulses, is currently not very successful at accurately predicting the individual program levels needed for each person.

Our research

Using the CAEP measurement, we have shown that we can accurately predict the current level at which a person begins to hear a sound. This means that it is a good measurement for automatic programming. We have tested different methods to analyse the CAEP signals to reduce the amount of repeated measurements that are needed (and hence the time for measurement), and the number of measurement electrodes needed.

We are currently testing different methods to obtain the CAEP signals from the brain using the internal electrodes of the cochlear implant as measurement electrodes. After this has been achieved and optimised, the method can be adapted into the clinical fitting software so that a person’s program can be set ‘at the push of a button’.

Research team

Principal investigators – Professor Colette McKay, Dr Hamish Innes-Brown, Dr Matt Petoe

PhD student – Mr Darren Mao

Funding

veski Senior Innovation Fellowship (CMcK), APA studentship (DM)

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