Navigation Links
Two bionic ears are better than the sum of their parts
Date:9/20/2012

Cochlear implants electronic devices surgically implanted in the ear to help provide a sense of sound have been successfully used since the late 1980's. But questions remain as to whether bilateral cochlear implants, placed in each ear rather than the traditional single-ear implant, are truly able to facilitate binaural hearing. Now, Tel Aviv University researchers have proof that under certain conditions, this practice has the ability to salvage binaural sound processing for the deaf and hard-of-hearing.

According to Dr. Yael Henkin of TAU's Department of Communication Disorders at the Stanley Steyer School of Health Professions and Head of The Hearing, Speech, and Language Center at Sheba Medical Center, and her colleagues Prof. Minka Hildesheimer, Yifat Yaar-Soffer, and Lihi Givon, the brain unites incoming sound from each ear at the brainstem through what is called "binaural processing." "When we hear with both ears, we have an efficient auditory system," she explains. Binaural processing provides improved ease of listening, sound localization, and the ability to understand speech in noisy surroundings.

In their study, the researchers looked at children who had lost their hearing at a young age and were not born deaf. Those who were provided with bilateral cochlear implants exhibited true binaural processing, similar to that of their normal hearing peers. In contrast, deaf-at-birth children who received their first cochlear implant at young age and their second after long delay, did not exhibit binaural processing.

The research was recently reported in the journal Cochlear Implants International.

Pairing up

More than a matter of symmetry, our two ears function together to create a whole picture of the sound that surrounds us. The integration of information from both ears not only saves neuronal energy, it is the key to different aspects of hearing, such as locating the source of individual sounds and being able to differentiate between different sounds in a noisy room.

Dr. Henkin and her fellow researchers set out to determine if bilateral cochlear implants were able to restore some binaural processing in the brain. Their study included three groups: children who had lost their hearing as toddlers due to illness and received bilateral cochlear implants soon afterwards; children who had been born deaf and received their first implant at around the age of four and a second approximately six years later; and a control group with normal hearing.

The researchers measured the brainwave P300, associated with auditory discrimination, while participants were asked to listen for the syllables "ta" and "ka" and were told to press a button when they heard the syllable "ta". The sounds were delivered in turn to the left ear, the right ear, and both ears at once. By comparing the P300 brainwaves identified when both ears were stimulated to the sum of brainwaves identified when each ear was stimulated separately a binaural interaction component was identified.

The researchers found a binaural interaction component in participants who had not been born deaf and had received bilateral implants at a young age. This suggested that "auditory experience prior to cochlear implantation is critical for binaural processing," says Dr. Henkin. But in the children who had only one implant for many years, the researchers found no evidence of binaural processing. It appears that the auditory deprivation that results from a long delay between implants may render the system incapable of restoring itself, explain the researchers.

Synchronized technology?

This study adds to the body of literature on how brain function is impacted by both deafness and rehabilitation, says Dr. Henkin. Currently it is not possible to coordinate the operation of separate bilateral implants, but in the future these implants may be designed to synchronize with each other, providing the hearing-impaired patient with the cues required for binaural processing, she says.


'/>"/>

Contact: George Hunka
ghunka@aftau.org
212-742-9070
American Friends of Tel Aviv University
Source:Eurekalert  

Related medicine news :

1. Toward a better material for hip replacement and other joint implants
2. Simple tool may help inexperienced psychiatrists better predict violence risk in patients
3. Health reform: How community health centers could offer better access to subspecialty care
4. Early use of stents better than medical therapy alone for certain patients
5. Renal denervation gives better outcomes than drugs in advanced heart failure
6. New Blood Thinner Effient No Better Than Plavix at Preventing Heart Trouble: Study
7. New device to remove stroke-causing blood clots proves better than standard tool
8. Childhood Music Lessons May Create Better Listeners
9. Better monitoring of food quantity makes self-control easier
10. Spirituality correlates to better mental health regardless of religion, say MU researchers
11. Working Moms Report Better Health Than Those Who Stay Home
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Two bionic ears are better than the sum of their parts
(Date:4/29/2016)... ... April 29, 2016 , ... Pro3rd Grunge is a package of ... lower thirds to introduce people, characters, and locations without having to set a single ... textures and many more design components. Simply select a preset and drag it into ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... ... April 29, 2016 , ... The number of chronically and seriously ill individuals ... there is an urgent need for highly skilled care managers and care coordinators. ... approach to train and retain care managers, and enhance their skills. , ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Orthodontics Limited, one of the nation’s top ... Middleberg, were asked by Invisalign to present an “Ask the Expert” ... “Advancing the Biomechanics of Invisalign Clear Aligners,” Dr. Gemmi and Dr. Middleberg demonstrated ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... ... ... Beauty® is offering a special deal on its webstore. , Buy 1 product and get ... the product with lesser value. In addition, a free bonus of 3 top serums ... , "So many women (men, too) love our products and get good results. We want ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... ... April 28, 2016 , ... Sanford Health’s work in cellular ... of researchers and leaders from Sanford Health were selected to participate in the ... Impact ” and receive the 2016 Pontifical Key Innovation Award at the Vatican. ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:4/27/2016)... 2016 Global  urinalysis market ... by 2022, according to a new report by ... http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20150105/723757 ) , Automation ... and accuracy delivered by the new generation urinalysis ... urinalysis instruments and consumables. For instance, the automatic ...
(Date:4/26/2016)... Diplomat Pharmacy, Inc. (NYSE: DPLO) is pleased ... Pharm D., to Vice President of Education and Quality. ... will continue to lead and oversee Diplomat University, an ... and training to Diplomat employees and external professionals on ... also houses the quality assurance department, which focuses on ...
(Date:4/26/2016)... -- Research and Markets has announced the ... report to their offering.      (Logo: ... market is projected to grow at a CAGR of ... is a technique that involves measurement and analysis of ... changes in biochemical pathways. The aim of performing these ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: