Health Watch - Medicine and Technology: Electronic Ears

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.


This week on Health Watch, we’re talking about technology and medicine. Technological advances have made it possible to supplement or even replace functions. For instance, hearing aids amplify sounds for people who have difficulty hearing, and cochlear implants replace lost hearing by digitizing sounds and transmitting them as electrical impulses to the brain. Now doctors at UT Southwestern Medical Center are testing a hybrid device that could help people who fall between the cracks, with not enough natural hearing to be helped by a hearing aid but with too much natural hearing for a cochlear implant.

Dr. Peter Roland, UT Southwestern’s chairman of otolaryngology, says the main benefit of this device is the ability to distinguish speech in a noisy setting. It amplifies low frequencies while electronically stimulating middle and high frequencies.

Visit http://www.utsouthwestern.org/earnosethroat to learn more about UT Southwestern’s clinical services in ears, nose and throat.

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February 2009


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