(PTI) Here's some hope of a cure for deafness after a British woman has received a single implant which brings hearing to both ears.
The unnamed patient, who has been deaf since birth, received the cochlear implant at Southampton General Hospital.
The electronic device has two wires running from it, with one leading into one inner ear and the other running under scalp into the other ear, the 'Daily Express' reported. Fine tuning is needed over the coming week to see if the four-hour operation was a success but it is expected to give the 44-year-old woman much improved bilateral hearing.
The Royal National Institute for Deaf People welcomed the news of the operation. Crystal Rolfe of the charity said: "There is evidence to show that hearing in both ears helps more than in one ear.
As this device is a lower cost than having two implants, it may mean that more adults can receive bilateral implants. "As this is the first operation of this kind in the UK we look forward to seeing the outcomes and more research into the benefits."
A cochlear implant uses small electrical currents to stimulate the hearing nerve, which then sends signals to the brain where they are interpreted as sound. The procedure has been developed at the South of England Cochlear Implant Centre, based at the University of Southampton.
Joint head of the centre Julie Brinton said: "Some adults and children have already received two implants, with one in each ear. The difference with the device being used today is that, although information is delivered to each ear, there is only one implant."