Understanding how the brain processes combined electrical and acoustic stimulation

Supervisors: A/Prof James Fallon, Dr Alex Thompson

The expansion of criteria for cochlear implantation to include patients with substantial residual hearing has focused interest on the benefits of combined electro-acoustic stimulation (EAS). Although such stimulation via a hybrid cochlear implant (CI) and hearing aid in the same ear has been shown to improve speech understanding, particularly in noise, and to increase the aesthetic quality of sound, almost nothing is known about the physiological mechanisms underlying these benefits. A number of animal studies have been performed, but they have used normal hearing animals and used simple acoustic and electrical stimulation that are not representative of complex electrical and acoustic information that represent speech and have limited clinical relevance. This project will address this deficiency by investigating EAS in an appropriate model with clinically relevant acoustic and electrical stimuli.

This project would suit a student with a background in science, biomedicine, or engineering (e.g., biomedical, electrical).

The general methods that will be used in this project include electrophysiology, behavioural training, and electrical stimulation.

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