Scientists of the University of Washington Medical Center are currently searching for a cochlear implant in order to make the inner ear condition Meniere’s disease bearable.
The disease is assumed to be a consequence of the rupture of a membrane inside the ear and causes symptoms such as loss of balance and dizziness. The condition affects approximately 1% of the American population.
Research now tries to help patients with Meniere’s disease by inserting a small implant, which is linked to an external processor, in the skull bone behind the ear that spreads three electrodes, which go into the inner ear canals. In case of a Meniere’s attack, the patient can activate the processor that will send electronic impulses to overcast the disease symptoms. Thus he can maintain his balance.
A doctor of the University of Washington, who is working on the implant within the last 4 years, points out: “This tool is really just to divert the symptoms. Not to heal, only reduce the vertigo until the actual diseases successfully treated.” A cure for the ear condition can only be obtained with help of surgery that risks the loss of hearing. The implant is currently being tested on a human test subject for the first time.