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NIH-funded science on hearing research at annual ARO meeting
Date:2/23/2012

What: NIH-supported scientists will be presenting their latest research findings at the 2012 Midwinter Meeting of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology (ARO).

When: February 25-29, 2012

Where: The Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel, San Diego, California, USA

Additional Information: Research topics to be presented by NIDCD-funded scientists will include:

Bilateral ≠ Binaural: Can the Ability to Localize Sounds Be Regained After Bilateral Cochlear Implantation?
Ruth Litovsky, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison

Bilateral cochlear implantsone implant for each earare becoming more common as a treatment for children who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. Many children with cochlear implants attain spoken language skills that are comparable to their hearing peers, but even with two implants children often appear to perform significantly worse on tasks that involve hearing in complex listening environments (a busy classroom, for example) where they need to distinguish a teacher's or classmate's voice from competing background noise. According to NIDCD-grantee Ruth Litovsky, Ph.D., this is a function of the difference between how cochlear implants and the natural hearing ear process sound. Cochlear implants have not been designed to provide binaural cuesthe cues that two normal ears provide to the brain. Binaural cues help listeners localize (know where the sound happens) and segregate (identify the meaning of a sound source) incoming sounds. In normal hearing, each ear sends its own unique information up the auditory pathway to the brainstem, and specialized neurons are able to decode the timing and intensity difference between sounds at the two ears to establish location and meaning. Cochlear implants don't provide the same kind of coordinated information to the brain. Dr. Litovsky's lab is working with three different groups of children and adults with bilateral cochlear implants to learn more ab
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Contact: Jennifer Wenger
wengerj@nidcd.nih.gov
301-496-7243
NIH/National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders
Source:Eurekalert

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