Medicine: Success for the Bionic Ear

A tiny computer promises to bring sound to 70% of the deaf

For seven years, David Columpus could not understand television programs or carry on conversations with friends. Reason: an illness had left him totally deaf. But in 1977 life began to change radically for the former owner of a Michigan glass-recycling plant. He volunteered to take part in an experiment at the University of Utah Medical Center in which eight tiny wires were implanted inside his inner ear and linked to a plastic plug, the size of a nickel, inserted in his skull behind the left ear. On one memorable day,...

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