The introduction of cochlear implants meant a revolutionary change in the lives of the severely hearing impaired and deaf.
The ability to integrate information from both ears is a critical factor in hearing. Although bilateral implants (i.e. independent implants in each ear) allow this to some extent, the temporal information that is necessary for true binaural hearing is completely lacking.
The next generation of cochlear implants will allow true "cocktail party" hearing for the deaf. Binaural implants that are coordinated through a single, common processor represent a new generation of medical devices that meet the requirements of binaural auditory processing in the brain in order to restore effective hearing.
In September 2012, the "Advancing Binaural Cochlear Implant Technology" research project was launched: ABCIT, which was funded by the European Union over a period of 3 years to the amount of € 4 milllion. The project was coordinated by the Ear Institute at University College London (UCL). Other partners of the project included Danish/French cochlear implant manufacturer Oticon Medical/Neurelec, the University of Oldenburg and HörTech.
The aim of the project was to improve the spatial hearing of cochlear implant users, and in particular those who use the binaural Neurelec device that synchronously stimulates both implanted ears. Binaural hearing is necessary to locate sound sources and for hearing in noise-prone environments
- Ear Institute at University College London (UCL)
- Oticon Medical/Neurelec
- University of Oldenburg