We are developing a number of collaborations to conduct research, enhance graduate education, and provide clinical services related to cochlear implantation. This work is designed to address a great social problem, providing hearing to the profoundly hard-of-hearing via a fully implanted bionic device called a cochlear implant or CI. We are conducting research across the age span, including toddler’s speech recognition of speech processed as would occur in a CI, children’s perception of prosody through a CI, and adult CI users’ ability to timing and spatial aspects of sounds and speech.
We have also created a new CI specialty clinic, in collaboration with the University of Maryland-Baltimore Dept. of Otorhinolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, in which CI patients from the Baltimore Medical School campus are seen in the College Park location. This assists patients whose home is nearer to College Park than to Baltimore, and, more importantly, provides a unique specialized clinical teaching opportunity for Au.D. students in HESP. It also provides researchers and students increased access to CI users to perform research.
The research, educational, and clinical CI initiative is unique in comparison with other programs because all students in the Au.D. program gain training and experience with CIs. Most students do not have the opportunity to directly interact with this population until later in their training in advanced placement sites around the community, despite learning about CIs recipients and their devices in their classes. This collaboration will allow our students to become expert clinicians providing services to MD residents, while promoting UMD to be a premier graduate program in audiology when it comes to CI training and research.