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Earlens: An Overview

Earlens (Earlens Co, Menlo Park, CA.) is the only hearing aid to use light to transmit sound, delivering the most complete sound of any hearing aid on the market.

Conventional hearing aids use a small speaker to amplify sounds. Speakers, however, can only amplify a limited range of frequencies without sound distortion or whistling.

The Earlens Hearing Aid uses light and a small lens placed on the eardrum to directly activate the body's natural hearing system. The result is rich, complete sound. In a
clinical study, the vast majority of people reported that Earlens made it easier to understand people in noisy environments and participate in group situations, compared to traditional, air-conduction hearing aids. The light-driven hearing technology that Earlens uses also eliminates the major source of whistling that troubles conventional hearing aids.

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Most complete sound:
Earlens can provide meaningful amplification from 125 Hz all the way to 10 kHz, while conventional hearing aids have trouble amplifying below 550 Hz and higher than 5.5 kHz. Research has shown that these lower and higher frequencies impact sound quality and speech understanding, especially in noisy environments.

Earlens: How It Works

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Dr. Battista and the Ear Institute of Chicago Audiology Team work closely together to fit the Earlens. Specifically, the steps involve the following: Dr. Battista makes a mold of the ear canal, which includes the contours of the ear drum. The mold is used by Earlens to make a custom tip (# 2 above) for the sound processor and to make a Lens that fits properly on the ear drum. After these two items are made, Dr. Battista will then place the Lens on the ear drum. The Lens placement is done in the office; no anesthesia is necessary. The Audiology Team will then custom program the Earlens to the person's level of hearing/comfort.

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Earlens Processor with custom ear mold tip

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Earlens custom Lens that rests on the ear drum

(All photos courtesy of Earlens, Menlo Park, CA.)