The Cochlear Implant Laboratory led by Dr. John H. L. Hansen, is one of the several labs within CRSS:Center for Robust Speech Systems. The mission of CRSS-CI Lab is to contribute and advance the state of art in speech technology for improving hearing function for improving hearing function for hearing impaired individuals with emphasis on cochlear implant recipients. To accomplish this, we focus on developing computer models and software that could improve the performance of cochlear implants in discerning background noise from conversations taking place in the foreground, as well as strengthening the intelligibility of the speech signal prior to CI stimulation. We feel honored to carry forward Dr. Philipos Loizou's vision and work of developing an interface that enabled an external Personal Digtial Assistant (CI-PDA) to process acoustic signals, such as speech, through a microphone worn behind an individual’s ear. After Dr. Loizou's passing in 2012, the lab moved towards designing a bi-modal and bi-lateral research platform (CCi-MOBILE) which allows any researcher to “test drive” their algorithms in the lab or for the first time on-the-go in natural settings where CI users have the most challenges in human communications. The CCi-MOBILE research platform allows for single or dual CIs, hearing aids (HAs), or a mix (CI in one ear, HA in another).

For centuries, people believed that only a miracle could restore hearing to the deaf. It was not until forty years ago that scientists first attempted to restore normal hearing to the deaf by electrical stimulation of the auditory nerve. The first experiments were discouraging as the patients reported that speech was unintelligible. However, as researchers continued to advance techniques for delivering electrical stimuli to the auditory nerve, the auditory sensations elicited by electrical stimulation gradually came closer to sounding more like normal speech. Today, a prosthetic device, called a cochlear implant, can be implanted in the inner ear and can restore partial hearing to profoundly deaf people.

Some individuals with implants can now communicate without lip-reading, some can communicate over the telephone and some can enjoy music. The success of cochlear implants can be attributed to the combined efforts of scientists from various disciplines including bioengineering, physiology, otolaryngology, hearing science/audiology speech science, and signal processing. Each of these disciplines contributed to various aspects of the design of cochlear prostheses. Signal processing, in particular, plays an important role in the development of different techniques for deriving electrical stimuli from the speech signal. Designers of cochlear prosthesis have been faced with the challenge of developing signal processing techniques that would mimic the function of a normal cochlea.

Previous Research

Past PDA Research project

NIH-N01 Grant (2006-2011)

NIH-N01 Grant (2012-2017)

Directed by Dr. Philip Loizou

The main aim of this Personal Digital Assistant based project, funded by NIDCD/NIH was to develop a research interface platform which could be used by researchers interested in exploring new ideas to improve cochlear implant devices. The PDA project was further modified into the current CCI-MOBILE design.


CCi-MOBILE Research Platform

The CCi-Mobile research platform currently funded by the National Institute of Health (NIH), enables easy development and evaluation of sound processing algorithms/strategies with cochlear implant as well as hearing aid users. The platform is compatible with Nucleus devices manufactured by Cochlear Corp.

Join us in our Research

Our goal is to advance signal processing and machine learning algorithms to improve the CCi-MOBILE platform thus making it accessible to the research community so that as researchers we can all benefit from diverse range of research capabilities possible with the platform. We envision the CCi-MOBILE platform to be a community-driven platform which will encourage cochlear implant based research activities to facilitate transitioning of research ideas from the laboratory to both clinical and commercial spaces. See our video on the four subscription tiers and click the CCi-MOBILE tab for more information on how to get apply for access to the platform today!

Participate in our Human Study

Are you a Cochlear Implant user and would like to help improve the current technology used in building them? Participate in our research experiments for evaluating algorithms outside the lab in everyday naturalistic environments by clicking on the participate tab above in the menu bar and filling out a small survey.