Steven Green, professor of biology and faculty member in the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Neuroscience, has a research goal of improving hearing in cochlear implant recipients.
Cochlear implants restore hearing by electrically stimulating auditory neurons in the inner ear. While cochlear implants are very effective in restoring speech perception in a quiet environment, they are not very effective in noisy environments or in restoring music perception. To the extent that auditory neurons degenerate, the efficacy of the implant is compromised.
Green’s lab investigates degeneration and death of auditory neurons in animal deafness models including the question of how electrical stimulation, such as that received from cochlear implants, affects the intracellular machinery that controls neuronal death and survival. “An outcome of our research could be means to develop cochlear implants that replace not only the sensory functions of lost auditory sensory cells but also their function in maintaining the health of auditory neurons,” Green said.
— Source: Deafness Research Foundation