Bringing Hearing to the Deaf
In his talk, Shipsey will discuss the cochlear implant, the first device to successfully allow the profoundly deaf to regain some sense of hearing. A cochlear implant is a small electronic apparatus. Unlike a normal hearing aid, which amplifies sound, a cochlear implant is surgically implanted behind the ear where it converts sound waves into electrical impulses.
These implants have instigated a popular but controversial revolution in the treatment of deafness, and they serve as a model for research in neuroscience and biomedical engineering. Shipsey will discuss the physiology of natural hearing from the perspective of a physicist. He will also touch on the function of cochlear implants in the context of historical treatments, electrical engineering, psychophysics, clinical evaluation of efficacy and personal experience. Finally, Shipsey will address the social implications of cochlear implantation and the future outlook for auditory prostheses.