“If you have to choose between being blind or deaf, choose the second option”
Pedro Clarós, full academician and vice-president of the Board of Governors of the Royal European Academy of Doctors-Barcelona 1914 (RAED), presented at the closing conference of the Third International Act of the RAED, held between the past 15 and 22 of July in different cities of the Baltic, the latest advances in cochlear implantology, which already allow to successfully treat deep deafness and speak in ownership of a bionic ear. Clarós read the paper “La bioingeniería en el tratamiento de la sordera profunda” (Bioengineering in the treatment of profound deafness).
“When a deep deaf person is given a functional magnetic resonance imaging study and the images of the cerebral cortex are collected, the first thing that is discovered is that the clawing area should not record any activity, but this is not the case. The brain is afraid of having empty spaces, so it fills them with other stimuli. This may also explain why the blind acquire other special abilities”, said the academician, one of the most renowned Spanish otolaryngologists.
“That has allowed us to work and reach the current point, where deafness can already be reversed by bioengineering techniques”, he continued. “The technology of the cochlear implant captures the sound, treats it with electronics, stimulates the cochlea and sends it to its perception in the auditory area. It’s the great advance that could never have been achieved in audiology and deserved to win a Nobel Prize. Two-year-olds are able to recover their entire auditory perception thanks to this technology. If you have to choose between being blind or deaf, choose the second option”.
Clarós explained how after achieving total ear regeneration in young children, research now focuses on the search for an electrode that, besides electrically stimulating the nerve ganglia, can release neurotrophin micro-pumps inside the cochlea to your feedback. “This leaves an open field to continue with the improvement of a system that has revolutionized the world of the deaf”.