Bluetooth implant helping deaf people hear again

image

Bluetooth implant
helping deaf people
hear again
Connecting a pair of
wireless headphones
to your smartphone
via Bluetooth has
become pretty
commonplace for the
majority of us. But a
remarkable new
implant, developed by
Austrian company
MED-EL, is using the
technology to help
those with hearing
loss.

The company has
built a small implant
called the Vibrant
Soundbridge that is
placed under the skin
directly inside the
middle ear. It uses
mechanical energy to
stimulate the cochlea
– a tiny bone in the
ear which creates
pulses that the brain
interprets as sounds.

The implant receives
its energy from a
unique processor worn
behind the ear that
converts the sounds
into signals that are
then transferred to
the implant. The
whole process uses
Bluetooth to work and
is targeted at people
for whom traditional
hearing aids are
either unavailable or
insufficient.

“The connectivity of
the latest Vibrant
Soundbridge is a huge
step forward in
allowing patients to
communicate in the
digital age, with
modern devices such
as mobile phones
connecting seamlessly
to the implant,” said
Sarah Humphreys,
Vibrant Business Unit
Manager at MED-EL.

The processor is also
able to adapt
automatically to
different sound
environments to
provide better clarity
in different situations.
Revealed at a
symposium in Rome,
the Vibrant
Soundbridge will be
made available in the
UK for people aged
five years and over

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