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89/308 Cochlear implant, 'Mini', demonstration Cochlear implant, speech processor, with microphone headset, transmitter coil and tricord adaptor, metal / plastic / electrical components, Cochlear Pty Ltd, Australia, 1987. Click to enlarge.

‘Mini’ Cochlear implant with microphone headset and speech processor.

Made by Cochlear Limited in Australia, Oceania, 1989.
Some great ideas need enormous commitment and cooperation to bring them to fruition. Graeme Clark's father was a deaf man in a hearing family and society. He was a pharmacist and often had to ask his customers to 'speak up' about their medical problems - which embarrassed him and them.

In 1967 Graeme embarked on a long journey towards fulfilling his dream of helping deaf people 'hear' the spoken word again. For ten years his research into electrical stimulation of the auditory nerve via an implant into the cochlea (a structure in the inner ear shaped like a snail shell) struggled along on animal experiments and university grant funding.

In 1974 a telethon on Channel 10 in Melbourne generated enough funds to take his work to the prototype stage and test it in a human patient, Rod Saunders. The 'bionic ear' worked: Rod could perceive sound again.

This demonstration encouraged the Australian government to finance commercialisation of the 'bionic ear'. The financing of the cochlear implant?s manufacture and marketing became a remarkably successful joint venture. The three-way partnership was between researchers at the University of Melbourne, the federal government and a medical equipment exporter called Nucleus. This partnership led to the formation of a string of Cochlear enterprises in the US, Japan and Switzerland including Cochlear Pty Ltd in Australia.

The Nucleus® 22, introduced in 1983, was the first use of a 22-channel implant. This allows the user to distinguish a wide range of sound frequencies and is the world?s most widely used cochlear implant system. By the early 1990s Cochlear Pty Ltd was making a profit and Professor Clark was earning royalties.

In 1994, after 5 years of lobbying, the implant was approved by Japanese health insurance companies, opening up a market of up to 50 000 profoundly deaf people.

Nucleus® 24 Contour, introduced in 1999, uses a pre-curved electrode. The electrode is made with the curved shape of the cochlea, improving the sound quality and simplifying surgery. Its speech processor incorporates the microphone and processor behind the ear, eliminated unnecessary wires. It won an Australian Design Award? in 2000.

By the end of the century there were over 24 000 Nucleus users in 50 countries worldwide, and the total time that all Nucleus systems had been in use was over 142 000 years (Nucleus implant years).

Summary

Object No.

89/308

Object Statement

Cochlear implant, 'Mini', demonstration Cochlear implant, speech processor, with microphone headset, transmitter coil and tricord adaptor, metal / plastic / electrical components, Cochlear Pty Ltd, Australia, 1987

Physical Description

Cochlear implant, 'Mini', demonstration Cochlear implant, speech processor, with microphone headset, transmitter coil and tricord adaptor, Cochlear Pty Ltd, Australia, 1987

Production

Notes

This type of Cochlear implant was called the Mini, and was the first Cochlear implant designed specifically for children. Introduced in 1985, it was smaller with a lower profile than the previous design. It was also the first implant that contained a magnet inside the receiver coil to aid placement of the transmitter coil outside the skin. This meant that a headband was no longer required to keep the transmitter in place behind the ear. The implant was produced by Cochlear Limited in association with the Department of Ear, Nose and Throat Surgery at the University of Melbourne.

Source

Credit Line

Gift of Cochlear Limited, 1989

Acquisition Date

1 May 1989

Cite this Object

Harvard

'Mini' Cochlear implant with microphone headset and speech processor. 2020, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 12 August 2020, <https://ma.as/94727>

Wikipedia

{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/94727 |title='Mini' Cochlear implant with microphone headset and speech processor. |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=12 August 2020 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}

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