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THERESIAH- Digital Therapy System for the Profoundly Hearing Impaired

Speech is the essential medium for human communication and is closely related to hearingA restriction of speech/hearing carries the risk of social withdrawal for many affected persons. Measures that serve to maintain or restore the ability to communicate thus contribute to social inclusion.

The gold standard in the treatment of patients with profound hearing loss or deafness is the provision of a cochlear implant (CI), a hearing prosthesis that directly stimulates the auditory nerve electrically. After implantation of a CI, patients can perceive sound again (or for the first time ever). To enable the patient to communicate successfully acoustically, hearing speech must be specifically (re)learned.

People who become deaf or deafened at a young age before or during language acquisition do not perceive their own voice the way people with healthy hearing do. However, since this so-called auditory feedback of one's own voice is important in language development in order to achieve correct and good pronunciation, it is often the case that those affected also experience pronunciation problems due to the distorted perception of their own voice. CI patients are offered speech therapy after the operation and fitting in order to practice their own speech as well as the new electric hearing. The therapeutic success of speech and hearing training depends decisively on the quality of the fitting, but also on the motivation of those affected.

The aim of the THERESIAH project is to develop a digital system for hearing and pronunciation training as a therapy after fitting CIs or hearing aids for the profoundly hearing impaired. The system is intended to offer patients the opportunity to perform self-determined exercises with high training frequency, e.g. at home or away from clinical therapy times. At the same time, treating physicians and speech therapists will be supported in (postoperative) clinical therapy by new objective diagnostic functions, and evaluation will be facilitated by logging the course of therapy. The complete digital system to be developed in the project consists of software modules for pronunciation evaluation as well as for the performance of hearing and speech exercises, based on a PC or tablet PC with hearing-speech set and connection to an electromyograph (EMG) as well as a specially adapted self-adaptive training program.

Funding measure

Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)

Project partner

  • Project Group Hearing, Speech and Audio Technology - Fraunhofer IDMT (Jan Wellmann)
  • Evangelical Hospital Oldenburg (Dr. Andreas Radeloff)
  • University of Health Bochum (Prof. Kerstin Bilda)

Project duration

February 2018 until January 2021

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