UCSF begins clinical trials for new bionic ear for profoundly deaf adults

UCSF researchers in the Department of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery will begin clinical trials this month of the Clarion CII Bionic Ear cochlear implant to help adults with profound hearing loss to hear again.

The UCSF Douglas Grant Cochlear Implant Center is seeking patients eligible for the cochlear implant who are adults with severe-to-profound hearing loss and are unable to hear and understand speech, even with state-of-the-art digital hearing aids. An estimated 460,000 to 740,000 people in the United States are severely or profoundly hearing impaired and may benefit from cochlear implant surgery.

The clinical trials involve the use of new ways of processing speech designed to produce clear and recognizable speech using electrical currents to excite hearing nerve fibers and send the sound information from the outside device to the cochlear implant, then on to the brain.

The new speech processing strategies can be used only with the Clarion CII Bionic Ear manufactured by Advanced Bionics Corporation, Valencia, Calif. The Clarion CII Bionic Ear is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and is designed to bypass the damaged parts of the ear and directly stimulate the hearing nerve at very high speeds. The external part of the Clarion CII Bionic Ear system converts speech and sound in the environment into digital code sending radio waves back to the surgically implanted bionic ear.

Anil Lalwani, MD, UCSF associate professor in the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, and colleagues Jan Larky, MA, CCC-A, coordinator of the UCSF Douglas Grant Cochlear Implant Center, and audiologist Colleen Polite, are screening adults with profound hearing loss for the clinical study.

Surgical placement of the implant generally takes three to four hours and requires an overnight stay. "The patient's head can be sore for a few days, but the results may change lives," Lalwani said. "When the outside device is turn

Contact: Twink Stern
University of California - San Francisco

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