“This changes everything.” That’s been quite the popular phrase lately. It gets applied to almost everything nowadays. Political campaigns. The unveiling of a new Apple product. But what about hearing implants?
Existing cochlear implants convert sound into electrical signals, which typically are transmitted to eight electrodes in the cochlea, a part of the inner ear where sound vibrations are converted to nerve signals to the brain. Eight electrodes can deliver only eight frequencies of sound, Rabbitt says.
“A healthy adult can hear more than 3,000 different frequencies. With optical stimulation, there’s a possibility of hearing hundreds or thousands of frequencies instead of eight. Perhaps someday an optical cochlear implant will allow deaf people to once again enjoy music and hear all the nuances in sound that a hearing person would enjoy.”
This sounds really exciting. Or course I’m a hearing person reacting to this news. I wonder how this news will be taken by the Deaf community. I’m sure some will be intrigued and excited about this news. Some will be skeptical. And some probably won’t even care.
So there you have it. Hearing with lasers. This changes everything.
Or does it?