American Family Children's Hospital

Waisman Center Day with the Experts: Cochlear Implants


For registration details, call (608) 263-5837 or email

Participants will learn about the latest advances in research with presentations by Lina Reiss, PhD; Sam Gubbels, MD; Christi Hess, PhD, CCC-SLP; and Ruth Litovsky, PhD; and hear from a panel of experts including individuals with cochlear implants and family members.


Sponsored by the Friends of the Waisman Center and the UW School of Medicine and Public Health Department of Surgery, Division of Otolaryngology.



  • 9-9:30am: Welcome and Introduction to the Waisman Center. Marsha R. Mailick, PhD, Director, Waisman Center
  • 9:30-10am: Hybrid Cochlear Implants: Benefits of Hearing Preservation, Lessons About Brain Plasticity, and Future Directions. Lina Reiss, PhD, assistant professor of otolaryngology, Oregon Health and Science University. A recent significant advance in cochlear implants is the hybrid or electro-acoustic stimulation (EAS) cochlear implant, which was developed as an alternative to treat individuals with high-frequency hearing loss but good low-frequency hearing. This presentation will discuss what has been learned from the hybrid clinical trials over the past 10 years, including the benefits of acoustic hearing preservation for improved speech perception in noise, voice recognition and music perception along with recent findings of brain plasticity with hybrid cochlear implants, and future directions for improving hearing preservation cochlear implants.
  • 10-10:30am: Speech Discrimination and Spatial Hearing in Toddlers with Bilateral Cochlear Implants. Christi Hess, PhD, CCC-SLP, Binaural Hearing and Speech Lab, Waisman Center. Bilateral cochlear implants (BiCIs) have been shown to promote the development of spatial hearing skills in children and adults, but little is known about the role of bilateral stimulation in enhancing language and speech reception in infants and toddlers. Because BiCIs are being provided to a growing number of infants and toddlers with little understanding about performance, the goal of this project is to better understand speech discrimination abilities and speech in noise thresholds in 2-to 3-year-old toddlers with bilateral cochlear implants.
  • 10:45-11:15am: Update on the Development of Novel, Regenerative Therapies for Hearing Loss. Samuel Gubbels, MD, FACS, Assistant Professor, Division of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Section of Otology and Neurotology, and Waisman Center investigator. There are a number of approaches being actively pursued in effort to develop novel treatments for hearing loss. While it remains unclear as to when new, regenerative therapies might be available for the treatment of human hearing loss, research in this area has produced a number of important findings over the last few years. This presentation will discuss the approaches being pursued to regenerate inner ear hair cells and review relevant scientific reports from this area of research.
  • 11:15am-12:15pm: Lunch. Optional panel discussion with clinicians.
  • 12:15-1pm: Panel Discussion. A panel of experts that includes cochlear implant users and their family members. Panel moderated by Ruth Litovsky, PhD, Professor, Communication Sciences and Disorders, Department of Surgery, and Waisman Center investigator.