3D Imaging Technology to Enhance Hearing

hearingA patented technology for creating revolutionary hearing aids may offer a solution to those apprehensive of wearing traditional hearing aids.

According to a past study by National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication, close to 36 million people in America have some kinds of hearing complications, and among them, only one out of five such people do actually get access to a hearing aid. This shows that despite deafness is a common problem, not many people who suffer from the condition are really getting hearing aids into their ears.

Surprisingly, the failure to wear hearing aid is not expressly as a result of affordability issue. Douglas Hart, an MIT engineer says that some people find it uncomfortable to wear hearing aids in their ears. He says that the percentage of people who don’t wear hearing aids could be decreased if a better way of fitting the gadgets is used. If you observe people who have the hearing aids in their ears, most of them do not fit them. They will either keep popping out or else too tight for their ears, and therefore prickly.

Douglas Hart has already patented a new idea of using 3D imaging technology to create a hearing aid that fits with the ear tube. Hart promises that when the product is out, it will be quite easy, faster and comfortable for the wearer to fit the gadget in his or her ears. Sometimes, people with hearing impairments have to undergo a daunting process of filling the ear tubing with a silicone substance in order to get a fitting hearing aid made.

It takes about 15 minutes for the gooey silicone gel to harden after which it is removed and taken to a hearing aid manufacturer to make a gadget that is fitting to the patients ears. This process is quite lengthy and sometimes does not give good results, especially when the wearer moves the jaws. Remember every time you move the jaw there are some movements in the ear muscles as well. This can push the hearing aid out or make the wearer feel uncomfortable.

With the 3D imaging technology, the hearing aid is made with the movements in account. A tiny fiber optic camera put in a stretchy polymer membrane is inserted into the patient’s ear and inflated to take the shape of the canal. The camera captures 3D images when the patient is chewing or talking such that the shape and size of the hearing aid takes into account all possible movements, which helps in making a well-fitting gadget. The process takes barely 2 minutes and the results are more precise; unlike in the traditional technique.

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Posted by on Oct 20 2010. Filed under Featured, Health, New, Sci/Tech. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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