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Our Research

Cochlear Implant Music Engineering Group (CIMEG)

The Cochlear Implant Music Engineering Group (CIMEG) was formed in 2014 and is made up of a cadre of passionate individuals including cochlear implant surgeons, cochlear implant audiologists, music engineers, composers, and imaging specialists. Despite cochlear implant listeners’ excellent performance on speech discrimination, the enjoyment and perception of music remains poor. The goal of our research is to enhance music enjoyment among cochlear implantees by investigating the features of music that affect its perception and enjoyment. These features include different aspects of music such as reverberation, rhythm, instrument, and overtones, among others. Our novel approach involves re-engineering music to reduce the complexity of music, which has the potential to make listening more enjoyable for a listener with a cochlear implant. We are also interested in developing a tool to better evaluate speech enjoyment in cochlear implant users. If you’re interested in participating or learning more about our projects, please email us at

Ongoing projects include:

> Music enjoyment: A study of Timbre, Reverb, Acoustic and Rhythmic Complexity, Harmonics

> Speech enjoyment: The Development and Validation of a New Instrument to Measure Speech Enjoyment

Hearing Loss

Led by one of the nation's leading experts on hearing loss, the Department of Otolaryngology—Head & Neck Surgery is at the forefront of innovation and investigation into the medical and surgical treatment of genetic hearing loss.

Research in the department currently focuses on identifying genes that are critical for hearing through the use of molecular genetic and molecular biologic methods, and investigating the use of virally mediated gene therapy to regenerate spiral (cochlear) ganglia—nerve cells that transport sound from the cochlea to the brain—in order to enable the sense of hearing in children born with genetic forms of hearing loss.

Studies into cochlear bone development are enabling researchers and physicians to look at how the material properties of bone enclosing the inner ear contribute to hearing. They anticipate that their findings may further understanding of how metabolic abnormalities cause certain types of hearing loss, including otosclerosis, Paget’s disease, and other conditions that cause defective bone development.

Clinical studies in age-related hearing loss are underway to address one of the world’s emerging public health problems. More than 80% of those over 85 years of age have hearing loss. As the average human lifespan increases, it will become even more important to preserve the senses. This will allow increased quality of life and may also reduce associated conditions such as social isolation, depression, and dementia.

Tissue Engineering

Vigorous research is underway in the field of implantable biomaterials and tissue engineering, including investigations into alloplastic materials utilized in the head and neck and live cell culture and resorbable tissue scaffolding. Researchers and physicians are actively exploring methods of engineering tissue constructs capable of structural and aesthetic restoration of native structures in the head and neck.  Recently, investigations have focused on the engineering of an optimal cartilage replacement for nasal and auricular reconstruction and the manipulation of the wound healing response intrinsic to hypertrophic scarring.

Cleft Lip and Palate

Cleft lip and palate research in the department focuses on the identification of genes associated with familial non-syndromic cleft lip and palate and an examination of the genetics of cleft lip and palate in Honduras and Colombia, as well as the role of folate metabolism in cleft patients. 

Learn more about our clinical trials.

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