A recent article in Forbes Magazine talked about how on August 2, 2020, Elon Musk, announced that Neuralink allegedly had a brain chip that would allow people to hear sounds they had never heard before.
Professor Gerard O’ Donoghue, steering committee member and Professor of Otology and Neurotology at the University of Nottingham, UK said that Neuralink gives us a glimpse of an incredibly exciting future where technology can augment and assist people suffering from a range of conditions, including hearing loss.
“It has serious emotional and social consequences, including loneliness and depression,” said Robinson. “These issues could become even more pronounced as a result of COVID-19. Those with hearing loss often really rely on visual clues when communicating, and lip-reading becomes impossible when we wear masks, exacerbating issues of isolation.”
“For those people who don’t derive adequate benefit from even the most powerful hearing aids, cochlear implants provide a vital means to communicate and participate in society: tasks like using the phone or traveling on public transport can potentially be revolutionized by having a cochlear implant,” added Robinson.
One in eight people in the United States or approximately 30 million people aged 12 years or older, has hearing loss in both ears and could benefit from an assistive hearing device, such as a cochlear implant. Professor Helen Cullington, Chair of British Cochlear Implant Group, said she sees the impact of severe to profound hearing loss on patients every day in the clinic.
“This affects so many areas of their lives from employment, social interaction, and mental well-being,” said Cullington. “A majority of people with this level of hearing loss could benefit from a cochlear implant, yet only five percent are getting access to one.”
“As an audiologist, it is frustrating to know that people are missing out on a potentially better quality of life,” added Cullington.