Noble JH, Labadie RF, Gifford RH, Dawant BM. Image-guidance enables new methods for customizing cochlear implant stimulation strategies. IEEE transactions on neural systems and rehabilitation engineering : a publication of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. 2013 Sep;21(21). 820-9. PMID: 23529109 [PubMed] PMCID: PMC3769452 NIHMSID: NIHMS479425.
Over the last 20 years, cochlear implants (CIs) have become what is arguably the most successful neural prosthesis to date. Despite this success, a significant number of CI recipients experience marginal hearing restoration, and, even among the best performers, restoration to normal fidelity is rare. In this paper, we present image processing techniques that can be used to detect, for the first time, the positions of implanted CI electrodes and the nerves they stimulate for individual CI users. These techniques permit development of new, customized CI stimulation strategies. We present one such strategy and show that it leads to significant hearing improvement in an experiment conducted with 11 CI recipients. These results indicate that image-guidance can be used to improve hearing outcomes for many existing CI recipients without requiring additional surgical procedures.