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 Tuesday, 14 January, 2003, 08:27 GMT
Implants to help deaf hear music
Dr Robert Fearn
Dr Robert Fearn tests how people perceive music
A music-loving engineer has been working on an ear implant to improve music perception for deaf people.

Cochlear implants now amplify the sound of speech, but Cambridge-based Australian inventor Dr. Robert Fearn said that feedback from the hearing-impaired shows the implants need improvement.

Dr. Fearn said: "They want to have the next level of hearing mobile phone technologies and music."

"We basically responded to that request and increased their music perception."

Just like existing implants, this one is placed in an area inside of the ear called the cochlea and depends on data sent by radio waves from a separate microphone and electronic unit.

Dr Fearn worked with both hearing and deaf people to work out which signals someone with an implant needs to detect pitch and appreciate music.

He told BBC Look East that the implants should be available within a few years.


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