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Bionic Ear Gives Hearing Health a Boost

Princeton University device spotlights need to address hearing loss, Connect Hearing says

For Immediate Release

VICTORIA, BRITISH COLUMBIA (September 6, 2013) — Before you can create the $6 Million Man, you must first give him a pricey bionic ear. At least, that's one application for the invention scientists at Princeton University are working on.

The Ivy League school in New Jersey announced in August that it has built a bionic ear using a 3D printer. The bionic ear is the first organ in the human body the scientists have replicated using the technology. According to Salon.com, they chose the ear because it lacks blood vessels, which are difficult to design.

The bionic ear would not only help the hearing impaired regain their lost hearing but it would allow any user to have superhuman hearing, researchers say.

"On a daily basis, hearing-health specialists are concerned with limiting hearing loss, so to learn of technology that expands normal hearing function is utterly fascinating," says MJ DeSousa, Connect Hearing's Director of Professional Practice. "I find it heartening that the ear is a focus of the Princeton scientists because it indicates that hearing loss is a condition that should be at the top of mind for all of us."

Creating a cyborg appears to be years away, but the bionic ear is a stunning start to the process. The 3D printer follows the schematics of a computer model of an ear to create the device, which includes bovine cartilage, electrodes, and silver nanoparticles that help to conduct electricity. The device — the latest of several recent technological breakthroughs in hearing health, including Lyric, the "invisible hearing aid" by Phonak — is not expected to hit the market for years, if ever.

"The bionic ear may put me out of work! But that's okay, if it solves hearing loss for good. In the meantime, you want to make sure to have your hearing tested, to ensure you stay connected to the sounds you love," says DeSousa, noting that Connect Hearing offers complimentary hearing screenings at all 112 of its clinics across Canada.

About Connect Hearing

With 112 clinics across Canada, Connect Hearing is Canada’s largest network of hearing professionals. Community involvement, including the provision of complimentary hearing screenings, is at the core of Connect Hearing’s practices, which allow people to stay connected to the sounds that bring joy to their lives. Since 2010, Connect Hearing has annually been named one of “The Best Workplaces in Canada” in a survey of employees from companies around the nation. For more information or to find the Connect Hearing clinic closest to you, visit www.connecthearing.ca.

Media Contact: 
Deb Morse, Elevation PR
Phone: 250.658.8104
Email: deb@elevationpr.com

Twitter: @Connect_Hearing

Facebook: ConnectHearing/Canada

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