Cochlear Implant Personal Digital Assistant

  • Engineering researchers are developing technology that will improve smartphone interface with cochlear implants
  • Cochlear implant patient at summer camp
  • Research team working on personal digital assistant interaction with cochlear implants

Project Overview

It seems like such an easy task—listening, just listening. But listening is a phenomenon that millions of Americans are unable to experience because they are deaf. An even greater number of Americans face difficulties when listening in noisy backgrounds or when the signal they wish to hear is too soft.

The purpose of the ciPDA (cochlear implant personal digital assistant) project is to develop a sophisticated tool that allows hearing engineers to design solutions addressing the problems that some individuals experience when trying to listen. This will be particularly helpful to people who are deaf and use cochlear implants to restore aspects of their hearing. The goal is to develop a hardware and software module that can be used to make it easier to understand speech when the background is noisy or the speech is soft.

Stage of Development

The ciPDA project is funded by the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. Portions of the work have been granted investigational status by the Food and Drug Administration. It is in the assessment and evaluation stage of development.

Development Team

The ciPDA project is a collaboration among the UT Dallas School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences, the Callier Center for Communication Disorders, the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science, the University of Arizona and the University of Wisconsin. The team of researchers includes:

Philipos Loizou, PhD

Loizou, a professor in the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science, was the original principal investigator for the ciPDA project. He passed away in July 2012. His research interests were in the areas of signal processing, speech processing and cochlear implants. His research on cochlear implants was funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and received the 1998 Shannon award from the NIH. Loizou, Cecil H. and Ida Green Professor in Systems Biology Science, was a fellow of the Acoustical Society of America.

Emily Tobey, PhD

Tobey is the principal investigator and holds the Nelle C. Johnston Chair at UT Dallas. She has made some of the most important contributions concerning the longitudinal effects of cochlear implantation during her decades-long focus on speech production and oral language development in young people. Her work has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) or other agencies since 1975, and she holds several active NIH grants. Her recent research has expanded to include the latest imaging techniques to study brain function and how it correlates to changes in adults' performance post-cochlear implantation.

John Hansen, PhD

Hansen is associate dean for research for the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science and Distinguished Chair in Telecommunications. His research interests span the areas of digital speech processing, analysis and modeling of speech and speaker traits, speech pathology and voice assessment, speech enhancement and feature estimation in noise. His current emphasis is on robust recognition and training methods for spoken document retrieval and recognition in accent, noise, stress, and Lombard effect, and speech-feature enhancement in hands-free environments for human-computer interaction.

Hussnain Ali, MS

Ali is working toward his PhD at UT Dallas. He worked as a design engineer in the Center for Advanced Research in Engineering, Islamabad, Pakistan from 2008 to 2009. Since then, he has been a research assistant in the Cochlear Implant Laboratory in the electrical engineering department at UT Dallas. His research interests include biomedical signal processing, implantable and wearable medical devices, cochlear implants and emerging healthcare technologies.

Oldooz Hazrati, PhD

Hazrati received her PhD in electrical engineering from UT Dallas and is currently a postdoctoral research associate, working on the development of single-channel de-reverberation algorithms to improve speech intelligibility for cochlear implant users. Her general research interests are speech enhancement and cochlear implants.

Feng Hong, PhD

Hong is a research associate in electrical engineering at UT Dallas. His research centers on cochlear implants. He is a member of the Acoustical Society of China. Hong’s research interests are in the areas of cochlear implantation, digital signal processing and embedded systems. He is working on hardware development of the ciPDA project.

Jaewook Lee, MS

Jaewook Lee is pursuing a PhD in electrical engineering from UT Dallas. He has been a teaching assistant since 2011 at UT Dallas. His research interests are in the areas of signal processing and speech processing. He is working on the voiced/unvoiced detection algorithm used for speech enhancement in noise and reverberation.

Nirmal Srinivasan, PhD

Srinivasan is a research associate in the Cochlear Implant Laboratory at UT Dallas. He earned a PhD in speech-language pathology and audiology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and has been at UT Dallas since 2012. He studies speech perception in cochlear implant users. He has published research articles in leading journals and conference proceedings in the field of acoustics.

Dongmei Wang, MS

Wang is pursuing a PhD in electrical engineering at UT Dallas. She has worked on single channel speech separation and the development of single channel speech enhancement algorithms to improve speech intelligibility. Her general research interests include speech enhancement, speech/music separation.

Hua Xing, PhD

Xing is pursuing a doctoral degree in the speech processing laboratory at UT Dallas. Her research interests include speech processing and enhancement. She also has worked on projects with the U.S. Air Force during her time at the speech processing laboratory.

Chengzhu Yu, PhD

Yu has been a research assistant with the cochlear implant and speech processing lab at UT Dallas. He is pursuing a PhD in electrical engineering.