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Hearing implant knows where it goes

1:30pm, January 10, 2006

Engineers out to improve the performance of cochlear implants have developed a version with sensors that may aid a surgeon in installing the device optimally.

Cochlear implants can restore hearing to people with deafness caused by damage to vibration-sensing cells (SN: 12/10/05, p. 371: Available to subscribers at Beyond Hearing: Cochlear implants work best when given early). The devices translate sounds into electric signals that travel to a narrow probe covered with electrodes. That probe, inserted into the coiled inner ear tube known as the cochlea, directly stimulates auditory nerve fibers.

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