University of Southern California

USC Neuroscience

Robert V Shannon

Research Professor, USC Otolaryngology
Research Professor, USC Biomedical Engineering
Adjunct Professor, USC Neuroscience

Research Topics

  1. Cochlear Implants
  2. Auditroy Brainstem Implants
  3. Auditory Midbrain Implants
  4. Psychophysics of normal and impaired hearing
  5. Speech perception with degraded sensory information

Research Overview

I am interested in how auditory information is coded in the nervous system. My original research attempted to find common elements in physiological responses and perception of acoustic sound. Since 1977 my research has focused primarily on prosthetic electrical stimulation to restore hearing: cochlear implants, brainstem implants and midbrain implants. My research programs range from the biophysics and psychophysics of electrical stimulation of the auditory system, to speech pattern recognition and the design of signal processing for prosthetic devices. Research on auditory prostheses spans the fields of biomedical engineering, anatomy, physiology, psychophysics, perceptual object formation and pattern recognition. Artificial activation of a sensory system at different levels of processing can reveal the importance of various cues to auditory perception. The comparison of simple and complex perception between normal hearing and prosthetic activation of the cochlea, auditory brainstem and auditory midbrain gives insights into processing, storage and retrieval of auditory information in the nervous system.

Contact Information

Web Site:
USC Biomedical Engineering
Mailing Address:
USC Otolaryngology
806 W. Adams Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90007
Office Phone:
(213) 764-2825


  • 1971 University of Iowa BA Psychology and Mathematics
  • 1975 UC San Diego PhD Psychology
  • 1977 UC Irvine Postdoc Psychobiology

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Selected Publications

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Colletti L, Shannon RV, Colletti V.  (2014). The Development of Auditory Perception in Children Following Auditory Brainstem Implantation, Audiology & Neurotology, submitted.

Colletti L, Mandalà M, Zoccante L, Shannon RV, Colletti V. (2011). Infants versus older children fitted with cochlear implants: performance over 10 years. Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 75(4):504-9. 

Colletti V, Shannon RV, Carner M, Veronese S, Colletti L. (2010). “Complications in auditory brainstem implant surgery in adults and children”. Otol Neurotol. Jun;31(4):558-64.

Moore D and Shannon RV (2009) Beyond cochlear implants: Awakening the deafened brain. Nature Neuroscience. 12: 687-691. -PubMed

Shannon RV (2007) Understanding Hearing through deafness, Proc Nat Acad Sci. 104(17): 6883-6884.

Colletti V, Shannon RV, Carner M, et al. (2007) The first successful case of hearing produced by electrical stimulation of the human midbrain. Otology and Neurotology. (1):39-43. -PubMed

Colletti V, Shannon RV. (2005) Open set speech perception with auditory brainstem implant?Laryngoscope. 115(11):1974-8. -PubMed

Shannon, R.V., Fu, Q-J and Galvin, J. (2004) The number of spectral channels required for speech recognition depends on the difficulty of the listening situation. Acta Oto-Laryngologica. Suppl. 552: 50-54. -PubMed

Rauschecker, J. and Shannon, R.V. (2002). Sending sound to the brain, Science, 295:1025-1029. -PubMed

Shannon, R.V., Zeng, F.-G., Wygonski, J., Kamath, V., and Ekelid, M. (1995). Speech recognition with primarily temporal cues, Science, 270, 303-304.