Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Tooth-mounted Hearing Aid

In 2010, some people may get improved hearing with the help of their teeth. That's the claim of Sonitus Medical of San Mateo, California. The company says it has come up with a small device that wraps around the teeth and helps people who have hearing problems on one side. It helps users better pinpoint the location source of sounds. Here's how it works: A small microphone picks up noices in the deaf ear, transforms them into vibrations and sends them through the teeth, down the jawbone and finally to the cochlea in the ear that is functioning. Some hearing aids already use this sort of bone conductivity but require drilling into the skull or headsets. The Cleveland Clinic says the device will be the top medical innovation for hearing in 2010. Researchers say it is fairly comfortable and doesn't damage the teeth. Sonitus Medical will submit their study results to the FDA for approval during early 2010 and it could be on the market by the end of the year.