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Release: Sept. 16, 1999

Gfeller to speak at 'Saturday Scholars: Tailgating for the Mind' Sept. 18

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Adults who develop profound hearing loss are faced with obvious challenges to spoken communication. Those who receive cochlear implants are able to perceive speech, but many are beginning to ask for more. Kate Gfeller, Ph.D., will address the changing needs among cochlear implant recipients during her presentation, "Do You Hear What I Hear: Music Perception Through a Bionic Ear" on Saturday, Sept. 18, 10 a.m., 40 Schaeffer Hall.

"The cochlear implant works differently from conventional hearing aids, which essentially amplify sound," said Gfeller. "Rather, the implant filters specific features of the sound wave that are considered especially important to speech perception, and transmits them to the auditory nerve."

Cochlear implant research and development initially focused on speech perception, but recently more attention is being given to music perception.

"Some cochlear implant recipients say that being able to enjoy music again would help them to feel more 'normal,' and more a part of society," said Gfeller.

Gfeller is a professor with a joint appointment in the School of Music and department of speech pathology & audiology. She is a member of the Iowa Cochlear Implant Team in the department of otolaryngology, head and neck surgery, UIHC and principal investigator for the Music Perception and Enjoyment Project of the multi-project Iowa Cochlear Implant Grant.

Also, Gfeller was selected as the Visiting Humanities Professor for the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, and has been the recipient of the Burlington Northern Faculty Excellence Award, which is awarded for outstanding excellence in bringing together scholarship and teaching. She joined the Iowa faculty in 1985.

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires an accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact the College of Liberal Arts in advance at 335-2611.