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Doctors Use Artificial Network to Help Hearing Impaired Updated: 2008-07-22 12:00:00 KST

Doctors Use Artificial Network to Help Hearing Impaired
A team of experts from Korea and Italy came together to perform a new type of transplant surgery on a young girl with a hearing impairments.
The method they used involves a computer chip and an artificial network.
Lee Jeewon explains.
This five-year-old has been unable to hear sounds since she was born.
Her brain functions normally but what's been damaged is the nerve that transmits sound signals from her ear to a part of her brain called the aural centrum.
Now a team of Korean and Italian researchers have come to her rescue to restore that link.
The Yonsei University College of Medicine and Italian experts have transplanted a computer chip and an artificial neural network into the girl's brain.
The electronic nerve transforms sound into digital signals, which are transmitted to the brain stem and processed by the aural centrum.
Following the transplant doctors say they've begun detecting in the child, the signature brainwaves of sound perception.
The Yonsei medical team is hopeful that the girl's condition will improve allowing her not only to hear but to speak as well.
The doctor who led the operation says:

[INTERVIEW : ] ''About half of what she hears has been transmitted to the brain. We anticipate the transmission to improve further.''

The treatment is applicable to most hearing-impaired people with the exception of those who've suffered brain damage.

Lee Jeewon, Arirang News.
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