NEWS on ear implants

Brain stimulation boosts hearing in rats with ear implants

Study identifies neurons that can improve sound perception, which could explain the variation in performance in people with cochlear devices. Stimulating neurons that are linked to alertness helps rats with cochlear implants learn to quickly recognize tunes, researchers have found. The results suggest that activity in a brain region called...

Locus coeruleus activity improves cochlear implant performance

Cochlear implants (CIs) are neuroprosthetic devices that can provide hearing to deaf people. Despite the benefits offered by CIs, the time taken for hearing to be restored and perceptual accuracy after long-term CI use remain highly variable. CI use is believed to require neuroplasticity in the central auditory system, and...

Sensitive drill for hearing implants

Inserting the implant into the inner ear is not without risks, as facial nerves can be injured in the process. Empa researchers have developed a new type of "smart" drill that minimizes this risk by automatically switching itself off when near nerves. Methods of "advanced manufacturing" could also lead to...

Optogenetic cochlear implant to improve hearing

A research group from the Göttingen Cluster of Excellence Multiscale Bioimaging is working on an optogenetic cochlear implant (oCI). Electric cochlear implants (eCIs) are used by more than one million people worldwide and enable those affected to understand speech in a quiet environment. But those affected are known to have...

Textile replacement for tympanic membrane and hip endoprosthesis

tympanic membrane: Textile researchers at TU Dresden have developed a novel drumhead implant made of fibers. In tests conducted by the developers, the bioinspired innovation performed significantly better than conventional implants. The textile membrane enables a complete, permanent and lifelike reconstruction of the eardrum (D Aibibu). Tests have shown that...

Germany: Specialty association certifies cochlear implant centers

According to the professional association, around 50,000 people in Germany are deaf, and another 250,000 have at least a 50 percent hearing impairment. If sufficient understanding of speech is not possible with a hearing aid, a CI can restore hearing and understanding in many cases. A CI is not an...

Träger von Cochlea-Implantaten nehmen stimmliche Emotionen schlechter wahr

Während Normalhörende Klangfarbe und Tonhöhe in einem ähnlichen Ausmaß bei der Erkennung nutzen konnten, orientierten sich die Implantatträgerinnen und -träger verstärkt an der Klangfarbe. Eini­ge von ihnen können sie sehr gut nutzen, um stimmliche Emotionen zu erkennen Die Nutzer eines Cochlea-Implantats, denen die Wahrnehmung von stimmlichen Emotionen leichter fiel, berichteten...

Parameter-Specific Morphing Reveals Contributions of Timbre to the Perception of Vocal Emotions in Cochlear Implant Users

Research on cochlear implants (CIs) has focused on speech comprehension, with little research on perception of vocal emotions. We compared emotion perception in CI users and normal-hearing (NH) individuals, using parameter-specific voice morphing. Results:  Unsurprisingly, CI users as a group showed lower performance in vocal emotion perception overall. Importantly, while...

Auditory brainstem implants – hearing restoration in congenitally deaf children

Children born deaf can learn to hear and speak with a cochlear implant (CI). If implantation of a CI is impossible for anatomical reasons, the auditory brainstem implant (ABI) is the only surgical alternative for hearing rehabilitation. Calculations show that about 5-45 children in Germany could be eligible for this...