2016 Imperial College London and Proc National Academy of Sciences

The inner ear processes low-frequency sounds, important for speech and music perception, differently to high-frequency sounds, new research has found. The exact mechanism for how the inner ear processes these important sounds is poorly understood, as the organ is difficult to access in experiments. Knowing the mechanism could help scientists to understand what happens when the process doesn’t work, causing hearing loss. It could also allow engineers to borrow from nature and design new audio equipment.


The new research, by an international team London, Sweden and the US, has shown one vital difference in the way high- and low-frequency sounds are processed by the ear. When a sound wave reaches a part of the inner ear called the basilar membrane, it causes it to vibrate. This in turn activates hair cells on the membrane which amplify the sound, allowing us to hear faint sounds. The hair cells also convert the movement into an electrical signal that can be interpreted by the brain. The region of the basilar membrane that vibrates in response to low-frequency sounds does not react in the same way as the region that responds to high-frequency sounds. The team found that low-frequency sounds move the basilar membrane and the hair cells, but the activity of hair cells causes little additional membrane motion. In contrast, high-frequency sounds, which are used for example to pick out speech in a crowded room, are known to cause the hair cells to feed back to the basilar membrane, creating extra vibration there.

As a service to hearing impaired people, we have provided a listing of resources for you to explore at your leisure.

Medel logo

This link contains brochures and flyers to download: Medel Brochures

A range of guides and tips for rehabilitation to download: Rehabilitation Materials

A selection of videos about hearing, hearing loss and how Medel implants work: Videos to view or download

A variety of good, practical information and tips & tricks for recipients, parents, and professionals: Medel Blog




Cochlear Australia resulted from the original development of an implantable device known as a cochlear implant or 'bionic ear'. This work was pioneered in Australia by Professor Graeme Clark

You can read more on the history of Cochlear in this link

There is a huge range of information available on the Cochlear website.



logo Australian Hearing provides hearing services to clients eligible under the Australian Government Hearing Services Program.

This is a link to the Australian Hearing website which contains a wealth of information and resources: Australian Hearing

May 2016 PRNewswire

Wearers of cochlear implants and hearing aids often have difficulty teasing out what someone is saying over "babble" — the cacophony of other talkers — and other ambient sounds. New York University researchers have devised a novel solution: an algorithmic approach that, like making drinkable water from pond water, distils the talker's voice from a turbid wash of noise.

June 2016 Huffington Post and Trinity College Dublin

Intact hearing in early childhood is essential for normal development of communication skills and language. Neural circuits are responsible for the healthy development of hearing, which is foundational for most academic skills, such as reading and language communication. Deaf babies may suffer from an ongoing deficit in communication skills and language development if they pass the time window critical for the development of these neural circuits. So cochlear implantation at a very young age may be critical. However, there are some risks in a surgical procedure, hence it is useful to know which children will benefit and what age is ideal to have cochlear implantation.