Next-gen implanted hearing aids are also headphones

A new generation of bone-conduction hearing aids have audio inputs for an MP3 player or phone headset. Wait until this goes bi-directional and allows its owner to start recording the ambient sound to a little drive — just try to ban recording equipment from press-conferences, movie theaters and concert halls!

On Friday Mr Hughes had tiny titanium screws drilled into bone behind each ear during a 90-minute operation under general anaesthetic. Once the wounds heal and the screws have fused with bone, abutments will be screwed into the implants, and the processors, about the size of a postage stamp, are clicked into place.

Older-style hearing aids amplify all sounds, making it almost impossible for wearers to hear conversations in noisy environments. They also interfere with frequencies used by mobile and fixed phones and often emit high-pitched whistling sounds. But the newer processors, costing about $6000 each, shut out background noise, giving users up to 25 per cent better hearing, and can be attached directly to MP3 music players or wireless headsets for talking on the phone, Cochlear's territory manager, Katrina Martin, said.

High-tech hearing aid the ultimate iPod accessory

(via Neatorama)