Research by King Chung, an assistant professor in audiology, and colleagues shows that by applying advanced hearing aid technologies, such as preprocessors, to cochlear implants, background noise can be reduced, speech understanding enhanced and sound quality improved for cochlear implant users. Chung collaborated with Fan-Gang Zeng, a professor at the University of California, and Susan Waltzman, a professor at New York University School of Medicine.
"The common goals of hearing aids and cochlear implants are to enhance users' speech understanding and listening comfort, as well as improve the convenience of device use," says Chung, who studies issues related to hearing amplification and communication. "To achieve these goals, hearing aid and cochlear implant manufacturers have gone through different research and development paths."
Hearing aid technologies, many of which are not available in cochlear implants, are more advanced in reducing different types of background noises and increasing the convenience of hearing aid use, Chung says. Cochlear implant technologies have advanced in coding strategies, miniaturization of the speech processor and electrode mechanics.
"Our study shows that by combining these two technologies, cochlear implant users can understand speech better and be more comfortable when they listen in background noise," she says. "Cochlear implant users also prefer the conditions in which advanced hearing aid technologies were applied as a preprocessor to their cochlear implants."
The research is published in the current issue of Acoustic Research Letters Online. Chung and her co-authors will present their findings in May at the European Symposium in Pediatric Cochlear Implants in Geneva, Switzerland, and a
Contact: Amy Patterson-Neubert