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Man Is Able to Hear With Ear Made Out of His Rib

Update Date: Apr 25, 2013 11:26 AM EDT
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A young man became the first person in the United Kingdom to have a groundbreaking procedure in which doctors took pieces of his rib in order to create an ear for him.

The patient, a man named Brian Hogg, was born with Treacher Collins syndrome. According to the National Library of Medicine, the genetic condition changes the development of facial bones and tissues. As a result, Mr. Hoggs could not be fitted with a traditional hearing aid, which requires the ability to fit on and over the top and middle of the ear.

In order to fashion him a new ear, doctors used cartilage from the man's rib. The ear was given the ability to ear using a Bonebridge device, which is fitted inside the ear.

"This is a truly innovative procedure and I'm sure the device will make a significant difference to Brian and many other patients like him," Dr. Alex Bennett, the physician who performed the procedure, said to the BBC. "The Bonebridge implant is intended to improve hearing by replicating the actions of the ear drum. A discreet audio processor, which is attached to the patient's head, picks up sound waves which are then amplified by the implant and passed to the inner ear through the skull bone. These sound waves are then interpreted by the brain as sound."

Mr. Hogg was pleased with the surgery. "After the new implant was been fitted I've noticed a huge difference in the range of sounds I can hear," he said. "The sound quality is much better and I can hear noises at a distance now, which my previous device didn't pick up. The Bonebridge implant is so light, it's practically weightless. It's tailored to most closely match my normal hearing range. When you think about how far mobile phone technology has come in the last 10 years, there have been similar advances in hearing aids. The new implant is a really big step forward in technology and I'm very grateful to the team of consultants for fitting the implant for me."

It is not clear how long the implant can remain in the body.

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