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Cochlear Implant Research at Iowa

Research Articles

UI advances cochlear implant science into 5th decade with $13.8 million grant renewal

Research studies involving cochlear implants


Hearing loss is a pervasive problem and, according to statistics from the National
Institutes of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)/National Institutes of Health (NIH) website,
it is estimated that it affects nearly 37.5 million Americans aged 18 years and older. While remediation with hearing
aids and cochlear implants has assisted those with moderate to profound loss, noise interferes with the ability to understand speech.

Research at the University of Iowa

Our research has identified the important advantage of combining acoustic+electric speech processing (A+E) to facilitate
improved hearing in noise. Application of A+E processing has improved outcomes of cochlear implants in quiet and noise,
but there is significant individual variability in outcome measures among subjects.

A national grant

The National Institutes of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Clinical Research Center Grant awarded to the
University of Iowa titled, “The Iowa Cochlear Implant clinical Research Center VII” is led by principal investigator,
Bruce Gantz, MD, FACS, and co-principal investigator, Marlan Hansen, MD, FACS.

With the grant, we investigate  hearing and auditory perception using studies that explore the mechanisms of electrical,
acoustic, and A+E hearing from the auditory periphery to the cortex, including measures of cortical (re)organization and
higher order language processing. Equally important, we are also exploring human ecology—factors in the person and in the
environment that can mediate or impede successful communication and can be modified by A+E speech processing.

Our goal

Our overarching goal of this competitive renewal is to apply basic and cognitive neuroscience methodologies to assist us in addressing
fundamental questions about how individuals use both acoustic and electric auditory information.  Specifically, we are examining the
impact that A+E processing function has on real-life socialization, cognition, and quality of life issues, and evaluating auditory processing
from the periphery to cortical and higher level processing.

Four research projects funded

Four distinct, yet highly interrelated research projects facilitated by administrative and patient care/technical support cores have been
designed to study these important questions.

Human Ecology (Project Leads: Ruth Bentler, PhD, and Camille Dunn, PhD)
Peripheral Electrophysiology (Project Leads: Carolyn Brown, PhD, and Paul Abbas, PhD)
Central Auditory Integration (Project Leads: Tim Griffiths, PhD, and Bob McMurray, PhD)
Cognitive Dynamics of Language Processing (Project Lead: Bob McMurray, PhD)

During this grant cycle (December 2017 – December 2022) we plan to study 200 newly implanted adult subjects with A+E hearing
preservation implants, 50 subjects who use a hearing aid, 50 normal hearing subjects, and a combination of 300 previously implanted
subjects with A+E, bimodal, or single CIs that participate in our research registry.