Thomas Wesarg

Subtitle Fitting algorithms and methods in children with single-sided deafness

Bio Dr. Thomas Wesarg is a senior clinical and research audiologist. He is the technical head of the Implant Center Freiburg and head of the Audiology Division at the Department of Otorhinolaryngology of the Medical Center - University of Freiburg. He studied electrical engineering with a specialization in biomedical engineering at the Technical University of Ilmenau, Germany. During his PhD work, conducted at the Leibniz Institute for Neurobiology, Magdeburg, and the Department of Otorhinolaryngology of the Medical Center - University of Magdeburg, he delt with sound coding strategies for cochlear implants. He has been working in the field of cochlear implants for more than twenty-five years. His main clinical interests are fitting of cochlear implants and auditory brainstem implants as well as treatment of single-sided deafness and asymmetric hearing loss. His main research topics include speech perception, sound localization and listening effort in cochlear implant and bone conduction implant recipients.

Summary Several studies have shown that early cochlear implantation in children with prelingual single-sided deafness (SSD) leads to improved speech perception in noise, sound localization, and quality of life. In addition to SSD evaluation, CI surgery and speech therapy, sound processor fitting is an important part of hearing rehabilitation in these CI recipients. Consequently, the success of rehabilitation is also affected by the quality of device fitting which in turn depends on the application of appropriate fitting algorithms and methods. Basically, the methods used for the setting of electrode-specific threshold and comfortable levels in children with SSD such as the assessment of objective measures, behavioral observation audiometry, visual reinforcement audiometry, conditioned play audiometry, and loudness scaling and balancing correspond to those applied in fitting of unilateral or bilateral CI in children with bilateral deafness. However, due to the contralateral normal-hearing (NH) ear, challenges such as the requirement for sufficient masking of this ear during life-mode assessments of sound quality and speech perception with the CI ear have to be considered in CI fitting in SSD. Furthermore, potential benefits from the present listening experience with the NH ear from birth should be taken into account. As in children with bimodal CI, loudness balancing between both the acoustically-hearing ear and the CI ear should be targeted, and may be obtained by age-appropriate methods. This presentation will demonstrate an overview of age-specific algorithms and methods applied in CI fitting in SSD children at our implant center.