Navigation Links
Understanding hearing
Date:12/2/2013

This news release is available in German.

Intact hearing is a prerequisite for learning to speak. This is why children who are born deaf are fitted with so-called cochlear implants as early as possible. Cochlear implants consist of a speech processor and a transmitter coil worn behind the ear, together with the actual implant, an encapsulated microprocessor placed under the skin to directly stimulate the auditory nerve via an electrode with up to 22 contacts.

Adults who have lost their hearing can also benefit from cochlear implants. The devices have advanced to the most successful neuroprostheses. They allow patients to understand the spoken word quite well again. But the limits of the technology are reached when listening to music, for example, or when many people speak at once. Initial improvements are realized by using cochlear implants in both ears.

A further major development leap would ensue if spatial hearing could be restored. Since our ears are located a few centimeters apart, sound waves form a given source generally reach one ear before the other. The difference is only a few millionths of a second, but that is enough for the brain to localize the sound source. Modern microprocessors can react sufficiently fast, but a nerve impulse takes around one hundred times longer. To achieve a perfect interplay, new strategies need to be developed.

Modeling the auditory system

The perception of sound information begins in the inner ear. There, hair cells translate the mechanical vibrations into so-called action potentials, the language of nerve cells. Neural circuitry in the brain stem, mesencephalon and diencephalon transmits the signals to the auditory cortex, where around 100 million nerve cells are responsible for creating our perception of sound. Unfortunately, this "coding" is still poorly understood by science.

"Getting implants to operate more precisely will require strategies that are better geared to the information processing of the neuronal circuits in the brain. The prerequisite for this is a better understanding of the auditory system," explains Professor Werner Hemmert, director of the Department for Bio-Inspired Information Processing, at the TUM Institute of Medical Engineering (IMETUM).

Based on physiological measurements of neurons, his working group successfully built a computer model of acoustic coding in the inner ear and the neuronal information processing by the brain stem. This model will allow the researchers to further develop coding strategies and test them in experiments on people with normal hearing, as well as people carrying implants.

The fast track to better hearing aids

For manufacturers of cochlear implants collaborating with the TUM researchers, these models are very beneficial evaluation tools. Preliminary testing at the computer translates into enormous time and cost savings. "Many ideas can now be tested significantly faster. Then only the most promising processes need to be evaluated in cumbersome patient trials," says Werner Hemmert. The new models thus have the potential to significantly reduce development cycles. "In this way, patients will benefit from better devices sooner."


'/>"/>

Contact: Dr. Andreas Battenberg
battenberg@zv.tum.de
49-892-891-0510
Technische Universitaet Muenchen
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Researchers map brain areas vital to understanding language
2. Understanding ourselves by studying the animal kingdom
3. Hormones impact stress, memories, and understanding social cues
4. Understanding immune system memory -- in a roundabout way
5. Research reveals new understanding, warning signs, and potential treatments for multiple sclerosis
6. Towards a real understanding of depression
7. Toward understanding the dangers of the fake marijuana called Spice or K2
8. Discovery of cell division master controller may improve understanding and treatment of cancer
9. Unexpected discovery of the ways cells move could boost understanding of complex diseases
10. Understanding the hearts rhythm
11. OHSU scientists advance understanding of brain receptor; may help fight neurological disorders
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Understanding hearing
(Date:3/24/2017)... 24, 2017 The Controller General of Immigration from ... Abdulla Algeen have received the prestigious international IAIR Award for the ... Continue Reading ... ... Controller Abdulla Algeen (small picture on the right) have received the IAIR ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... , March 21, 2017   Neurotechnology , ... recognition technologies, today announced the release of the ... which provides improved facial recognition using up to ... a single computer. The new version uses deep ... accuracy, and it utilizes a Graphing Processing Unit ...
(Date:3/20/2017)... ALLENTOWN, Pa. , March 20, 2017 ... PD 2.0 personal spirometer and Wellness Management System (WMS), ... Founded in 2010, PMD Healthcare is a ... Company with a mission dedicated to creating innovative solutions ... of life. With that intent focus, PMD developed the ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:3/23/2017)... ... 2017 , ... AxioMed president, Jake Lubinski, describes the AxioMed ... deformed, which is identical to how the human discs work to distribute force. ... to its natural state along a hysteresis curve, exactly like a healthy human ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... 2017 Research and Markets has announced ... report to their offering. ... The Global Market for Bioproducts Should ... at a CAGR of 8.9%, This research ... into seven major product segments: bio-derived chemicals, biofuels, pharmaceuticals (biodrugs ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... , March 23, 2017  SeraCare ... to global in vitro diagnostics manufacturers and ... the industry,s first multiplexed Inherited Cancer ... testing by next-generation sequencing (NGS). The Seraseqâ„¢ ... developed with input from industry experts to ...
(Date:3/23/2017)...  BioPharmX Corporation (NYSE MKT: BPMX), a specialty ... today reported financial results for the quarter and ... an update on the company,s clinical development efforts ... are pleased to report that last year was ... Anja Krammer. "We achieved key clinical milestones and ...
Breaking Biology Technology: