Innovation That Matters

New hearing implant will stream music and calls from Apple devices


First-ever sound processing implant streams sound from an iPad, iPhone or iPod.

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The medical device manufacturer Cochlear Limited, has teamed up with Apple to make an implant sound processor, the Nucleus 7, that directly stimulates the cochlea, providing a sense of sound to a person who has severe or profound hearing loss.

This isn’t the first time that Apple have helped to develop hearing products. Recently the company have worked with GN ReSound, another medical device manufacturer, to create iOS-compatible hearing aids. In fact, there are now over 50 hearing aids that are compatible with Apple products and a similar number for Android, too.

The advantage of an implant over a hearing aid is that a hearing aid simply amplifies the sound while an implant mimics the role of the damaged parts of the inner ear, digitizing sound signals and sending them directly to the cochlea. Cochlear’s newest processor is controlled by the phone itself and does not require an app download. The implant is synced with the device via Bluetooth and then the user is able to change the volume or check the implant’s battery level through an Apple phone or tablet. Even more functions are offered by an app, too.

The Nucleus 7 implant has recently been granted FDA approval in the America, and Cochlear Limited are planning on rolling it out this September, initially in the United States and Canada.

There are plenty of other companies working on technology to help those with hearing loss too. An American start up has developed a device that amplifies sound and provides screen descriptions through an app, and the LipNet software system created by the Department of Computer Science at Oxford University, can read lips more accurately than human beings. Are there any other aspects of life that would benefit from hearing products?




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