Real-life benefits of hearing-preservation cochlear implantation (HPCI) in children

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child with cochlear implants

This is one of two research projects exploring how we can improve the lives of children with cochlear implants. The University of Manchester is the home institution for this project. To view the Melbourne-based partner project, click here.

Despite the recent advances in cochlear implant (CI) systems, the amount of speech information available for children with a cochlear implant compared to their normal-hearing peers or hearing-aid wearing peers is limited. These differences become particularly apparent in challenging situations, such as noisy environments when several speakers are present. Some features of speech that are essential for communication, such as stress, intonation and emphasis can be significantly impaired in paediatric CI users.

In addition, music perception is poor in this group, which can have consequences for development and social interaction. A combination of electrical hearing with preserved acoustic hearing has the potential to address these issues and enable children with a CI to more closely follow a normal course of auditory development. To date, the clinical evaluation of benefits following hearing preservation CI has focused on laboratory tests like pure-tone audiometry and speech perception, which fail to capture real-life benefits.

Understanding and being able to measure the real-life benefits of preserved acoustic hearing will have significant direct implications for children’s development and the activities of their daily lives.

Project goals

Key research questions in this project are:

  1. What are the real-life benefits of preserved low-frequency acoustic hearing in children with cochlear implants?
  2. What is the effect of the degree of low-frequency hearing on real-life benefit from hearing preservation in children with cochlear implants?
  3. What is the effect of accounting for hearing preservation in cochlear-implant programming on real-life benefit in children?
  4. Why do some children choose not to use acoustic amplification alongside their cochlear implants?

Supervision team

The University of Manchester: Doctor Karolina Kluk-de Kort

The University of Melbourne: Associate Professor Karyn Galvin

*Click on the researcher's name above to learn more about their publication and grant successes.

Who we are looking for

We are seeking a PhD candidate with the following skills:

  • Demonstrated experience in the field of science in audiology, psychology, or speech-language therapy and an interest in quantitative and qualitative research.
  • Demonstrated experience with interviewing and/or thematic analysis of qualitative data would be beneficial.
  • Previous clinical and/or paediatric experience will be preferred.
  • Demonstrated ability to work independently and as part of a team.
  • Demonstrated time and project management skills.
  • Demonstrated ability to write research reports or other publications to a publishable standard (even if not published to date).
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills.
  • Demonstrated organisational skills, time management and ability to work to priorities.
  • Demonstrated problem-solving abilities.

Further details

The PhD candidate will benefit from the combined expertise of the project supervisors, and the embedding into two research environments. Dr Karolina Kluk-de Kort has expertise in cochlear dead regions, psychoacoustics and electric-acoustic stimulation. Associate Professor Karyn Galvin has expertise in clinical management of children and adults using cochlear implants, evaluating everyday listening experiences, and working with families to understand barriers and facilitators to the use of hearing technology.

This PhD project will be based at the University of Manchester with a minimum 12-month stay at the University of Melbourne.

The candidate will be enrolled in the PhD program at the School of Health Sciences at the University of Manchester and in the PhD program at School of Health Sciences at the University of Melbourne.

The candidate will be based at Manchester Centre for Audiology and Deafness (ManCAD), which is s uniquely positioned within HCDH to provide the candidate with subject experts related to all tests. Specifically, the division of HCDH includes experts in child language development (ESRC International Centre for Language and Communicative Development; LuCiD), cognition and auditory processing (ManCAD) and all aspects of speech processing (Speech and Language Therapy; SLT).

Prof Iain Bruce (senior surgeon) leads the program of paediatric hearing preservation cochlear implantation at Manchester Children’s Hospital and will provide the candidate with access to the relevant patient population.

To apply for this joint PhD opportunity, and to view the entry requirements, visit How to apply.

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