New hearing implant reads brain activity and adjusts to wearer

The new development is able to automatically adapt to the owner using special electrodes,

tracking changes in the brain.

Thanks to this, we can objectively assessthe quality of the prosthesis work, not relying on the patient's feelings, as well as observe them in a daily environment. In the long term, this will allow many to regain their hearing without spending a lot of time setting up the implant in the hospital.

Tom Frankart, one of the developers, professor at the Catholic University of Leuven

Implantable hearing aids (also calledcochlear) have been used in medical practice for four decades. They transmit sound directly to the patient's brain using special electrodes. However, in the past, each unit had to be customized to the individual characteristics of the patient.

A new development was created to circumvent thisproblem. The new implant not only transmits signals to the brain, but also collects feedback on how the pattern of its activity changes in response to stimulation of the auditory nerve.

For this, the authors temporarily replaced partelectrodes in the hearing aids of several volunteers, as well as by attaching several such conductors to their skin. As a result, the new electrodes clearly tracked how the volunteers' nervous systems responded to various sounds. Thanks to this, the researchers tracked how changes in the settings of cochlear implants affected the brain activity of patients.

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