The center's research include a wide range of topics within ear diseases, audiology and vestibulogy, and include a close collaboration with DTU, industry, the University of Copenhagen and patient associations.
Read more about the center's research projects:
> Ongoing projects (in Danish)
> Completed PhD projects (in Danish)
At the Copenhagen Hearing and Balance Centre at Rigshospitalet, we are building bridges between daily clinical treatment and world-class MedTech research. A cornerstone of this center is a long-running collaboration between the clinicians at Rigshospitalet and the engineers at DTU Hearing Systems. This collaboration is facilitated by a small DTU research unit within CHBC that consists of jointly employed faculty and researchers together with brand new, dedicated state-of-the-art research facilities.
The dedicated research facilities at CHBC consist of both a fully equipped sound booth and a clinically oriented spatial hearing lab. The sound booth has, first and foremost, been designed to mimic the functionalities of both the clinical booths at CHBC and the research booths at DTU in Lyngby, effectively facilitating synergies between the two domains. We go above and beyond this by outfitting the booth with equipment that will help to catalyze brand new, clinically oriented research streams. The base setup includes an otoscope, a middle ear analyzer, and the Affinity Compact audiometer and hearing aid analyzer, as well as a loudspeaker and head and torso simulator (HATS) for free-field testing. On top of this, we have a Biosemi system supplemented with tiptrodes and tympanic membrane electrodes—making both electro-encephalography (EEG) and electrocochleography (ECochG) possible—as well as a NIRScout for functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS). Taken altogether, this modular setup allows for recording cortical, subcortical, and peripheral processes along the entire auditory pathway. We anticipate that by recording neural responses from different stages of the auditory system simultaneously, we can study the functional relationships between these stages in novel ways.
Adjacent to the sound booth, we have outfitted the spatial hearing lab with a novel, state-of-the-art loudspeaker array consisting of 41 individual loudspeakers that have been embedded within the walls and ceiling of an otherwise ordinary clinical room that has been acoustically treated. These loudspeakers are driven by a control computer and amplifiers that have been placed in the adjacent room, leaving the test space itself clean, clutter free, and approachable for patients. In a similar manner to the sound booth, the spatial hearing lab has been designed to facilitate synergies with DTU Hearing Systems, such that we can better link the work we do at DTU with virtual sound and virtual reality within the Audio Visual Immersion Lab (AVIL), as well as with listener behavior within the communication labs , to the patients at CHBC, giving us unparalleled possibilities to design, develop, and test novel ways to bring realism and ecological validity to the clinic. We anticipate that this lab space will help revolutionize spatial hearing and listener behavior diagnostics, accelerate the optimization of fitting procedures for hearing aid and cochlear implants, and catalyze rehabilitation that is more transferrable to daily life.
Our work is typically divided into projects and most involve experiments with both hearing-impaired and normal-hearing people. In our research, we use several different measurement methods, including:
Psychoacoustic measurements, where we present some sounds (eg tones, noise, speech or melodies) via headphones or speakers) and typically the patient has to answer questions via a computer.
Speech production recording, in which the patient is asked to pronounce words or sentences that are recorded through a microphone.
Cognitive and audiovisual measurement methods, where the patient is presented with auditory, visual or audiovisual stimuli while, for example, eye movements and pupil size are measured.
Otoacoustic emissions, which are weak signals generated in our inner ear, which are measured by placing a probe with a small speaker and a microphone in the ear canal.
Auditory-evoked potentials, where small speakers are placed in the ear canal and brain activity is recorded using flat electrodes placed on the scalp or in the ear canal.
Functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS), in which brain activity is recorded using optods located on the scalp.
Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), where brain activity is recorded using a magnetic resonance imaging machine, which takes place at the MRI research section at Hvidovre Hospital.
Questionnaires and online surveys, where the patient typically has to answer various questions related to their hearing.
In addition, research is being carried out into ear stones, Menière's disease, Cochlear Implant and certain syndrome patients. The center is also part of a sensu-neuro-CAG (Clinical Academic Group) collaboration with researchers in Region Zealand.
Our goal is to achieve a better understanding of how hearing works, both in normal hearing and in people with hearing loss. Our research contributes i.a. for the development of measurement methods that can provide a more specific description of the individual hearing loss, thereby enabling better development and adaptation of hearing aids and cochlear implants for both adults and children.