New brain imaging device to assess cochlear implants

RESEARCH

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A joint venture by a multidisciplinary team of researchers in cochlear implant technology, hearing disorders, cognitive and language sciences, and brain imaging, has now made it possible for the first time to better understand how the human brain processes input from a cochlear implant (CI). The aim of the project was to study the effects of hearing loss and cochlear implantation in the brain, across the life span.

According to MedicalXpress, researchers at Macquarie University, Australia, will now be able to use magnetoencephalography (MEG) imaging techniques to assess brain function in people who have received cochlear implants. The benefits of CIs have been well documented for quite some time, but this technology will enable researchers to gain new insights into the effects of hearing loss, the impact of restoration of hearing on brain development and function, and on the way the brain processes CI information.

“We have a unique window into the brain through MEG technology,” explains Professor Stephen Crain from the ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders (CCD). “For seven years, CCD researchers have used MEG to understand how the brain processes sensations and perceptions, language and emotions. Now, for the first time, we will be able to extend this knowledge to understand how the brain adapts to a cochlear implant, especially in children, whose neural development is at a crucial stage.” The research team first plans to study how the brain achieves so much in the early years of life. They are also convinced that the technology will open up many more research possibilities to understand hearing-brain interactions.

Source: MedicalXpress

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