Thursday, March 25, 2010

FDA Approves Implantable Amplifier for the Deaf

FDA Approves Implantable Amplifier for the Deaf

A bionic sound amplifier that can be implanted in the human ear to restore hearing has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. The Esteem system can help people with sensorineural hearing loss, which is a kind of hearing loss caused by damage to the inner ear from noise, aging or viral infection, or also by genetic factors. The Esteem system implants an amplifier between the eardrum and the middle ear, which picks up vibrations from the eardrum, amplifies them, and passes them on as amplified vibrations to the middle ear. According to the FDA's Jeffrey Shuren, the device has "no readily visible external components." How do they get the thing in there between the eardrum and middle ear? We're not sure.