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Implanted magnet helps restore hearing.

Implanted magnet helps restore hearing

A hearing device that includes a tiny magnet implanted in the skull behind the ear has been cleared for marketing by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, manufacturers of the device announced in September. Designed to help people with a type of hearing impairment called conductive hearing loss, the device's external, detachable sound-processing portion is held in place by the magnet. It converts sound into vibrations in much the same way as other hearing aids, but can transmit those vibrations directly to the magnet and then to the inner ear for a clearer sound, say scientists. Manufactured by Xomed Inc. of Jacksonville, Fla., the device will not help the majority of hearing-impaired people, since conductive hearing loss--caused by infection or other malfunction of the middle ear--accounts for no more than 20 percent of those with hearing problems and often is corrected by surgery, says Xomed Vice-President Donald R. Bruce. But it may help many unimproved by surgery and those plagued by persistent ear infections, because it leaves the ear free to drain.
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Publication:Science News
Date:Oct 3, 1987
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