For millions of US adults with hearing loss, the FDA has approved a new laser-based hearing device designed to amplify sounds over a wider range of frequencies than traditional hearing aids.
The EarLens Contact Hearing Device (CHD) consists of 2 parts: a tympanic membrane transducer (TMT), which is nonsurgically inserted deep into the ear canal, and a behind-the-ear sound processor.
The processor converts external sound waves into electronic signals that are digitally processed, amplified, and sent to an attached tube that rests in the ear canal. A laser diode in the tube converts the signals into pulses of light that shine onto a photodetector in the TMT, which converts the light back into electronic signals that transmit sound vibrations directly to the eardrum.
Voelker R. Can You Hear Me Now?. JAMA. 2015;314(17):1789. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.14007