Designs on the deaf?

For the first time, a new electrode developed by US based Advanced Bionics provides a directional coupling between a cochlear implant and a patient’s auditory nerve. The result is that certain individuals could be hearing much better in the future.

Typical hearing aids make sounds louder and deliver the amplified sounds to the ear. But for individuals with severe to profound hearing loss, even the most powerful hearing aids may provide little to no benefit. Making sounds louder or increasing the level of amplification does not enable such an ear to process sound.

In contrast, cochlear implants bypass damaged hair cells and directly stimulate the hearing nerves with electrical current, allowing individuals who are severely to profoundly or totally deaf to receive sound.

But conventional cochlear implant electrodes have been limited to stimulation at one site at a time. To solve this problem, a new Advanced Bionics implant, dubbed the HiFocus Electrode, has been engineered to deliver a focused directional coupling between a cochlear implant and a patient’s auditory nerve.

For more information on the design of the electrode go to: www.cochlearimplant.com