‘Apple breakthrough’ to allow deaf people to stream phone calls into skulls

Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images

A new piece of wireless technology developed by Apple claims it will allow deaf people to have phone calls and music streamed directly into hearing implants inside their skulls.

Working alongside healthcare manufacturer Cochlear, Apple’s implant is the first cochlear which can stream to a smartphone directly and will allow people with severe hearing loss to listen to calls and music clearly.

Apple’s device will be sold in the UK from as early as September and the technology will be made available to other healthcare manufacturers.

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It is estimated that around 11,000 people in the UK already have cochlear implants which are work differently to hearing aids. Implants have an internal component implanted into a bone behind a user’s ear to stimulate the hearing nerve.

Current implants are often criticised for interference when trying to use a telephone in the normal way, even though they can make a significant difference to hearing.

Some cochlear implants can already stream calls by Bluetooth but this currently requires a third piece of equipment which can lead to time delays in calls.

Apple and Cochlear’s new device uses the tech giant’s Bluetooth low-energy audio (LEA) technology to stream from iPhones. The technology is more powerful than the current Bluetooth standard low energy technology available.

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