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Hearing and Donuts (Brain and Bagels) Seminar
November 12, 2021 @ 8:30 am - 9:30 am
Presenter: Sean Anderson, PhD student (Litovsky lab), Communication Sciences and Disorders, UW Madison
Topic: Interaural Asymmetry and Binaural Hearing for Patients with Bilateral Cochlear Implants
Bilateral cochlear implants (BiCIs) result in several benefits, including improvements in speech understanding in noise and sound source localization. However, the amount by which each patient benefits varies considerably. One reason for this variability is difference between the two ears’ hearing function, i.e., interaural asymmetry. Thus far, investigations of interaural asymmetry have been highly specialized within various areas. The goal of this review is to provide a new framework under which these studies can be integrated synergistically. This framework begins with a binaural signal, ends with a behavioral response, and consists of two interim stages: encoding and decoding of binaural information. Encoding of binaural cues is represented using excitation-inhibition (EI) of signals from the left ear and right ear according to where the signal originated in space. Decoding of binaural cues is represented using predictive coding, which assumes that expectations based on prior sensory experience and transmitted via top-down connections are compared against sensory input (i.e., bottom-up connections). This new framework can be used to integrate physiological, behavioral, and modeling studies to gain a clearer understanding of the implications of interaural asymmetry and devise strategies for optimal patient interventions.