Revolutionizing Hearing: MIT, Harvard, Columbia Team Up on Implantable Hearing Tech

By: | July 7th, 2024

Major Milestone in Hearing Restoration Technology

Researchers from prestigious institutions, including MIT, Massachusetts Eye and Ear, Harvard Medical School, and Columbia University, have achieved a significant milestone in hearing restoration technology. Their collaborative effort has resulted in the creation of an implantable microphone, paving the way for fully internal cochlear implants.

The Importance of Cochlear Implants

Cochlear implants are life-changing devices that enable deaf and severely hard-of-hearing individuals to perceive sound. However, current implant designs rely on external microphones, which can be cumbersome and limit wearers’ activities. This novel implantable microphone represents a major step toward a completely internal cochlear implant system.

Introducing UmboMic: A Marvel of Miniaturization

The tiny microphone, called UmboMic, is a marvel of miniaturization. Made from biocompatible materials, it measures a mere 3 millimeters by 3 millimeters and is incredibly thin, at about 200 micrometers thick (comparable to two human hairs). This remarkable device is placed directly on the underside of the eardrum, where it captures sound vibrations with exceptional precision.

Potential Benefits of a Fully Internal System

This innovation holds immense potential for those living with hearing loss. A fully internal cochlear implant system would offer numerous advantages, including improved comfort, discretion, and sound quality. It would also eliminate the need for external components, making it more convenient for wearers to participate in activities like swimming or exercising.

The development of UmboMic marks a significant advancement in hearing restoration technology. This collaborative effort by leading researchers brings us closer to a future where the benefits of cochlear implants are available in a more seamless and user-friendly form.

Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

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