Personal tools

You are here: Home / News & Events / Events / Biomedical Engineering Seminar - 3 March 2015

Biomedical Engineering Seminar - 3 March 2015

Speaker: Dr Helen Cullington, University of Southampton. Title: Cochlear implants: the future - some challenges for biomedical engineers
When Mar 03, 2015
from 12:45 PM to 01:45 PM
Where IBME F1 Seminar Room, (20.61), Old Road Campus Research Building, Headington, OXFORD
Contact Name
Contact Phone 01865 617747/617737
Add event to calendar vCal

Full abstract

Cochlear implants are surgically-implanted devices for adults and children with severe to profound deafness.  They are considered to be the most successful of all neural prostheses developed to date.  30 years ago, cochlear implants provided a vague sensation of sound and were used to help lip-reading.  In the past 20 years, device design has improved so much that that the majority of people receiving implants are now able to understand speech without lip-reading and use the telephone. Approximately 1,400 people receive a cochlear implant in the UK each year, with the total number being around 13,000.   

Several challenges however still remain:  there is a wide variation in performance for people using identical devices, listening in background noise is still difficult, music and other pitch-dependent tasks (tone of voice recognition, talker identification) are often not perceived well.  In addition, there are challenges related to the long-term follow-up of cochlear implant users.  Fewer than 5% of people in the UK who would benefit have received an implant, and the number of pensioners is projected to increase by 28 percent by 2035.  Some predictions suggest seven times as many cochlear implant patients in seven years; we will be unable to treat this many using the existing service delivery.  My research currently focuses on telemedicine approaches to the long-term follow-up of implant users.   

Full Biography

Helen Cullington is a clinician and researcher working at the University of Southampton Auditory Implant Service. She has more than 20 years’ experience in cochlear implants, having worked on several implant programmes within the United Kingdom and the United States, including House Ear Institute in Los Angeles.

Helen’s first degree was in Physics followed by an MSc in Audiology at the University of Southampton in 1993. Helen was captivated by cochlear implants – the use of technology to improve people’s lives. She began working in cochlear implants immediately, as an Audiological Scientist on the implant programme in Middlesbrough initially and then from 1997 at the University of Southampton. She then worked in House Ear Institute in California, USA from 2001 to 2004, leaving House to begin a PhD at University of California, Irvine. Helen returned to the University of Southampton Auditory Implant Service in 2007; she splits her time between seeing patients and working on research projects.

Helen has special interests in bilateral implants and the use of telemedicine to follow up cochlear implant users.