Washington: Longtime cochlear implant users are reporting dramatic improvements in their hearing, thanks to new image-guided programming methods developed by Vanderbilt University researchers. Using Vanderbilt`s patent-pending nonsurgical process, audiologists are able to fine-tune and customize cochlear implant programming, providing improved sound quality and clarity. "Our automated image-guided programming method can dramatically improve a person`s hearing with a cochlear implant, even if implantation happened a long time ago. Study subjects have called it life-changing," said Benoit M. Dawant, the Cornelius Vanderbilt Professor of Engineering and director of the Vanderbilt Initiative in Surgery and Engineering (ViSE). "This is an excellent example of collaborative effort between engineering and medicine that ViSE promotes," he noted.More than 200,000 people worldwide have cochlear implants and the number of newly implanted recipients is increasing dramatically each year. All recipients from the newly implanted to the long-term user could experience better hearing with Vanderbilt`s new programming process.Cochlear implants provide hearing restoration to people with severe-to-profound hearing loss. The devices use a combination of surgically implanted electrodes that stimulate auditory nerve pathways and an external sound processor worn behind the ear to provide hearing sensations.
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