Objective Monitoring and Fitting of Cochlear Implants

Our group is exploring the potential of cochlear implant (CI) telemetry, i.e., the assessment of electrical impedances and neuronal responses, to provide insight into the health of the cochlea during and after implantation. In previous studies, we demonstrated the potential of impedance telemetry in estimating electrode insertion depths, eliminating the need for radiation-based position assessment. In addition, we showed an association between impedances and residual hearing in CI patients. By obtaining reliable, objective biomarkers, we aim to contribute to the development of improved assessment methods that can better guide patient care and improve their overall quality of life.

Morphophysiology of the Cochlea

The cochlea has a captivating spiral shape, and it remains unclear which physiological advantages it offers for hearing. In this project, funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF), we combine advanced morphometric approaches with computational fluid dynamics simulations and observational studies, to gain more insight in possible geometry-driven hearing mechanics. Deeper comprehension of cochlear morphology will also help to enhance surgical planning methods for CI surgery and improve CI electrode array designs.

Advanced Sound Field Audiometry

Sound field audiometry, which involves the use of loudspeakers instead of headphones to present acoustic test stimuli, is an essential part of evaluating the progress of hearing rehabilitation. Assessing hearing thresholds, speech comprehension in both quiet and noisy environments, and sound localization are key outcome measures that can be linked to the quality of life of patients who have received hearing implants. To make the assessment more realistic yet still reproducible, our team is developing methods to create advanced test setups that are necessary to accurately measure the advantages of modern hearing implant technology.

Objective Tinnitus Diagnostics

Tinnitus, i.e., the perception of sound in the absence of an external acoustic stimulus, is a poorly understood symptom. The prevalence of tinnitus is estimated to be 10-15% of the general population and is expected to increase due to demographic developments. In our group, we work on objective methods for tinnitus assessment and classification. These would enable clinicians to quantify treatment outcomes of existing interventions and facilitate the development of novel therapies. One approach to objective tinnitus assessment is the identification of neuronal correlates in electroencephalography (EEG).