#AceNewsDesk – Aug.06: Steven Levy spoke with Mathias Bahnmueller as he tested a new Apple sound processor that beams digital audio directly into hearing aids. Bahnmueller suffers from hearing loss so severe that a year ago he underwent surgery to install a cochlear implant — an electronic device in the inner ear that replaces the usual hearing mechanism
Published on August 05, 2017 at 10:34AM: WIRED’s report on “a life-changing technology.” Around a million patients have undergone this increasingly mainstream form of treatment, and that’s just a fraction of those who could benefit from it. (Of the 360 million people worldwide with hearing loss, about 10 percent would qualify for the surgery.) “For those who reach a point where hearing aids no longer help, this is the only solution,” says Allison Biever, an audiologist in Englewood, CO who works with implant patients. “It’s like restoring a signal in a radio station.” Cochlear implants bypass the usual hearing process by embedding a device in the inner ear and connecting it via electrodes to the nerve that sends audio signals to the brain… The system Bahnmueller was using came from a collaboration between Apple and Cochlear, a company that has been involved with implant technology since the treatment’s early days.
The firms announced last week that the first product based on this approach, Cochlear’s Nucleus 7 sound processor, won FDA approval in June — the first time that the agency has approved such a link between cochlear implants and phones or tablets.
Those using the system can not only get phone calls directly routed inside their skulls, but also stream music, podcasts, audio books, movie soundtracks, and even Siri — all straight to the implant… Apple will offer the technology free to qualified manufacturers. Google’s accessibility team for Android has no public timeline for any similar hearing aid support, though according to the article it’s “on the roadmap #AceNewsDesk
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