Research has always been an integral part of the Hearing Rehabilitation and Cochlear Implant Program at Washington University. Dr. Margo Skinner began the research program in 1989 with a grant from the (NIH) National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders (NIDCD). Dr. Skinner’s grant, Strategies to Optimize Benefit from a Cochlear Implant, was continuously funded for 18 years. Research in this area and many others continues through the various research projects currently conducted in the Department of Otolaryngology at Washington University.

In addition to these research studies, we participate in many clinical trials sponsored by cochlear implant manufacturers. This allows our patients access to the latest in cochlear implant technology. All members of the cochlear implant team participate in research and the knowledge gained through these studies improves device programming and rehabilitation techniques, all of which directly benefit the implant recipients treated at Washington University.

Some specific areas of research in our department currently include:

  • Unilateral hearing loss in adults and children, both for individuals with recent sudden onset of hearing loss in one ear as well as those who have been deaf in one ear for a number of years
  • Optimization of speech processor programs for adults and children with cochlear implants
  • Cochlear implantation of adults with asymmetric hearing loss
  • Bilateral cochlear implantation in adults and children
  • Surgical procedures for cochlear implantation that result in hearing preservation
  • Combined electrical and acoustic device fittings – using a combination of a hearing aid and cochlear implant in either the same ear or on opposite ears

For additional information on specific research projects in our department, please visit any of the following research websites: