Cochlear Implant without External Hardware

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Hear at Ease

Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Microsystems Technology Laboratory and the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary have designed a new cochlear implant that requires no external machinery to function. Cochlear implants are electronic medical devices that electrically stimulate the auditory nerves. It is surgically implanted to provide the sense of sound to a person who is deaf or hard of hearing.

The implant consists of a bio–battery with a low–power signal–processing chip that harvests energy from the body of the person it is implanted in, thus, making it wireless and less bulky. The device was tested on guinea pigs fitted with similar hearing hardware as humans.

Current versions of cochlear implants are bulky wherein the transmitter is implanted in the skull with a wire snaking down to a joint microphone and a power source making it look unwieldy. The new device offers a better choice at wireless hearing aid.

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