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Chaos & Complex Systems Seminar
Auditory Activation with Electric Hearing: Studies on Auditory Plasticity in Deaf Humans
Date: Tuesday, January 26th
Time: 12:05 pm
Place: 4274 Chamberlin Hall
Speaker: Ruth Litovsky, UW-Madison Department of Communicative Disorders
Abstract: It is not uncommon for individuals who are deaf to undergo surgical treatment whereby they are fitted with cochlear implants (CIs). These devices send electrical stimulation to the auditory nerve in such a way that the brain can learn to interpret the stimulation, and CI users can effectively understand speech and enjoy the auditory world. Until recently, the standard of care had been to implant candidate patients with a single device in one ear. More recently, this standard has shifted such that two devices, bilateral CIs, are being provided to growing number of patients. Being able to hear with two ears affords humans functional abilities such as localization of sounds and segregation of sources from background noise. These abilities depend on binaural brain function, that is, on neural circuits that integrate inputs from the two ears with great precision. Our lab studies the emergence of binaural hearing abilities in children and adults who had experienced various periods of auditory deprivation prior to being activated with electric hearing. Our studies address questions regarding the ability of the auditory system to retain sensitivity to binaural hearing after deprivation. In addition, in children who have never heard with acoustic hearing, but whose brains are wired for acoustics, we study the ability of the brain to respond to electric stimulation such that the children attain age-appropriate abilities in domains of language, speech and hearing.<br>
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