The central nervous system may hold the answer to, “Can you hear me now?”
Despite major advances and new technologies, hearing-aid users and individuals with cochlear implants still struggle to hear in settings with high levels of background noise.
That’s why NJIT’s Antje Ihlefeld, an assistant professor of biomedical engineering in the university’s college of engineering, is reframing the problem. Rather than approaching it strictly as a disorder of the ear, Dr. Ihlefeld is investigating hearing loss and the role the central nervous system plays in processing sound.
Dr. Ihlefeld’s research, which gets its data from cochlear implant users and a biological model, looks at two key aspects: how the brain operates when exposed to a cacophony of background sounds, and how the central nervous system functions when totally deprived of sound. The upshot of Dr. Ihlefeld’s research promises a greater understanding of the system deficits among the hearing impaired and, more immediately, new hearing-remediation strategies.