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Room: RS 211
This study seeks to characterize cortical networks that are required for listening with bilateral cochlear implants by applying functional connectivity metrics to a multi-channel electroencephalography (EEG) dataset.
Providing bilateral cochlear implants simultaneously at a young age gives children who are deaf the best chance of developing normal auditory pathways. Coordinated activity across different regions in the brain is necessary to support cognitive processes such as listening. While previous work focused on the strength of activity primarily in the auditory cortices, this work considers functional relationships and extends the analyses to other cortical areas. Data were recorded from 15 experienced (>3 years) bilateral implant users and 13 age-matched normal hearing peers using 64-channel EEG in response to passive click stimuli. A spatial filtering (beamforming) technique with artifact suppression was used to reconstruct source time series and functional connectivity was examined using the FieldTrip toolbox. Network graphs were built and then quantified using graph theoretical metrics. Preliminary analyses reveal persistent differences in functional connectivity between bilateral cochlear implant users and their normal hearing peers. Further analyses will provide a better understanding of auditory network topology and connectivity, which will in turn help guide future implant development and target rehabilitation strategies.