European Industrial Doctorate to train experts in auditory implants for minimized outcome spread and maximized participation in society
Disabling hearing loss is currently ranked 15th on the list of global health issues, and is one of the most challenging health and social issues in Europe. With the world’s ageing population it is expected to become the 7th global health issue by 2030. Ten percent of those currently affected by hearing loss rely on cochlear implants (CIs), as other powerful hearing aids cannot provide useful hearing. CIs have more than 350000 users worldwide, providing significant improvements in speech understanding, hearing performance, and quality of life. However, large individual differences and unexplained variability are reported in auditory, speech, and language functioning after CI implantations. MOSAICS brings together the largest global manufacturer of hearing implants and Europe’s leading hearing-related research groups to provide top-class training, expertise, and research facilities to shape the next generation of hearing experts in a growing industry.
MOSAICS is a European Industrial Doctorate (EID) programme that has now ended. It trained four Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) to become experts in auditory implants to achieve minimized outcome spread and maximized participation in society. The ESRs have had the unique opportunity to be part of a multidisciplinary training programme, learning from the industrial excellence of the largest global hearing implant manufacturer and from the outstanding research expertise of the leaders in the field of hearing research. Within this framework the specific objectives of MOSAICS were:
- to investigate the “body functions” by evaluating the neuronal activity following sound and speech stimuli at the level of the cochlea, the brain stem, and the cortex, using biophysics methods
- to adopt an engineering approach and the aid of artificial intelligence (AI) to explore “environmental factors”, obtaining insight into the fitting issues related to outcome spread
- to address the cognition (brain) effects on process-related outcome measures in relation to CI performance
- to evaluate the societal benefits of CI-specific rehabilitation programmes and recipients’ social support.