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Research project: Telemedicine in cochlear implants

Currently Active: 

Dr Helen Cullington is interested in how we are going to continue providing excellent care when the number of cochlear implant users is increasing so rapidly. 

Project Overview

Some predictions suggest that there will be seven times as many patients using cochlear implants in seven years’ time. There are currently 300,000 people using cochlear implants worldwide. How can we continue to follow up so many patients? The answer may lie in remote fitting and assessment, with the results being automatically transferred to the cochlear implant centre. Helen led two focus groups with cochlear implant users to ask them what they wanted for the future of cochlear implants. Most were keen to have more involvement in their own mapping and troubleshooting (see The What do our service users want? download at side of page).

Helen has been involved in several projects exploring the use of an online hearing test for cochlear implant users. Action on Hearing Loss already have an online test that has been used by hundreds of thousands of people worldwide. This is a simple test that involves the listener repeating back groups of three numbers that they hear (triple digit test):

Helen has been using a modified version of this test and found that the results in cochlear implant users correlate well with those obtained in conventional hearing tests in the clinic. Furthermore, a recent student project has demonstrated that a test using numbers is more effective for people whose native language is not English. Helen hopes to expand the triple digit test so that it can be used in all cochlear implant users, even those with limited language or more variable results with their implant.

Associated research themes

University of Southampton Auditory Implant Service

Related research groups

Bioengineering Science
Child with a cochlear implant
Cochlear implant users worldwide

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