September 21, 2013

Restoring Hearing Using Bionics

A mother wrote in the Wall Street Journal yesterday about the miracle of Cochlear Implants.

Lydia Denworth described when her 2-year old son, who is deaf, got these implants and how now he is now able to attend 5th grade in a "mainstream school" and is "nearly indistinguishable from the other children."

These implants allow her son, Alex, to have a conversation with another child about the hearing device that "can open up the world of sound and spoken language."

Denworth states at the end of the editorial, "Moments like that make me deeply grateful for the technology."

For me, reading this was an opportunity to go learn about the amazing bionics that has already restored hearing to 320,000 people!

While hearing aids amplify sounds and make them louder, they don't resolve permanent damage to the inner ear. 

A cochlear implant bypasses the damage by receiving sounds in a microphone, digitizing them, and converting them to electrical impulses that are sent directly via implant to the auditory nerves-- bypassing damaged or missing sensory cells in the ear--in a way that the brain can understand.

I am in awe of the inventors--Graeme Clark, Ingeborg Hochmair, and Blake Wilson--who are being recognized for their pioneering research leading to the development of Cochlear Implants.

Hopefully, soon we can do for sight, smell, taste, and touch what we can do for hearing and restore the impaired to fully functioning again.

We are living in a time of great miracles--thank you G-d!

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Bjorn Knetsch)

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