Topic 1.2 - Individual anatomic factors in underperforming patients (ESR 2)

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The Topic Individual anatomic factors in underperforming patients will be hosted at HörSys (DE) and supervised by Thomas Lenarz and Samuel John.

We plan to combine the technological factors (i.e. the dimensions and exact placement of the CI, its stimulation parameters, …) and biological factors (i.e. inter-individual variation of cochlear size and shape) and then analyse both regarding hearing outcomes and language perception in children with CIs. We will use a battery of auditory and cognitive tests to pinpoint functional outcomes and will additionally combine modern cochlear imaging (digital volume tomography, cone-beam CT) with computational approaches to automatically localise the implant in the cochlea. Finally, using EEG (auditory novelty paradigms) on selected individuals, we will objectively assess higher-level auditory processing and relate it to visual reorganisation, possibly yielding a multi-modal plasticity relation in the human brain.

We assume that there will be a negative relation between anatomic/geometric factors and the extend of multi-modal reorganisation: decreasing the quality of the sensory input will increase the reliance on visual inputs. Evidence for such a relation in children with cochlear implants has not yet been provided and would support the need of individualised CIs and the need of cochlear imaging before implantation.

Part of this topic will take place at the Medizinische Hochschule Hannover (DE) for the ESR to be enrolled for the PhD, and at the University of Oslo (NO) to gain major expertise in imaging, to examine the cognitive factors that are independent of peripheral constraints but relevant to the performance of the subjects.

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