Tinnitus effect on device programming and speech outcomes in cochlear implant users

Chief investigator

Dr Robert Pierzycki

Study team

Dr Derek Hoare
Dr Claire Fielden
Dr Pádraig Kitterick

Funder

Nottingham University Hospitals Charity

Study period

2015-2016

Cochlear implants are hearing devices that can restore hearing in patients who are profoundly deaf. These patients often experience tinnitus - hearing sounds in the head or ears that have no external source. Recent research studies and the experience of audiologists suggest that tinnitus can make it more difficult for audiologists to adjust the implant to meet the needs of individual patients. These difficulties are thought to include (a) restricting the range of sound levels the patient can hear (i.e. the difference between the loudest and quietest sound); and (b) reducing the patient’s ability to understand speech. This study will examine whether tinnitus has these negative influences on adult cochlear implant users. If the results confirm that tinnitus makes adjusting implants more difficult, further research will target the development of improved clinical protocols for patients with tinnitus.