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Hearing and Donuts (Brain and Bagels) Seminar
April 29, 2022 @ 8:30 am - 9:30 am
Presenter: Sara Misurelli, AuD, Ph.D., CCC-A, Assistant Professor, Division of Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery, Department of Surgery | School of Medicine & Public Health, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Topic: Bimodal Hearing: What is Needed for Success?
Hearing loss (HL) is a growing public health concern which negatively affects people’s ability to effectively communicate and can lead to an increase in listening effort, an overall reduced quality of life, and an increased risk of dementia. There is evidence to suggest that audiological interventions which help to preserve access to sound, such as cochlear implants (CIs) and hearing aids (HAs), may help to mitigate these negative effects. Although many individuals have bilateral HL, they will receive a CI in only one ear due to a variety of factors (e.g., financial constraints and insurance, general health status, hearing history, etc.), and may continue to use a contralateral HA. This is known as bimodal hearing, where patients receive bilateral auditory input from two different modes of stimulation – amplified acoustic stimulation from the HA and electric stimulation from the CI. Bimodal hearing can afford a patient with severe to profound hearing loss improvements in sound quality and speech understanding that cannot be obtained with either device (HA or CI) alone. The vast majority of research supporting a contralateral HA in patients with a CI, and thus discordant bilateral auditory input, has been conducted in younger individuals whose brains are more plastic and may be better able to accommodate the discordant acoustic and electric inputs, compared to older adults. There is a dearth of evidence of factors that capture and optimize bimodal hearing, specifically in the aging population. This presentation will outline what we know regarding bimodal hearing, what remains to be investigated in this growing population, and some preliminary data regarding bimodal benefit in individuals 65 years and older.