Retrospectacle: A Neuroscience Blog

Experiences with a Cochlear Implant

Since losing his hearing, Michael Chorost has volunteered himself as a guinea-pig for a number of experiments with the software that controls his cochlear implant. He has written extensively about those experiences.

This week, I stumbled upon one of his stories in The Best American Science Writing 2006 and thoroughly enjoyed it. My Bionic Quest for Bolero tells the tale of his quest to hear every nuance of his favorite song by traveling across the country and allowing a host of scientists to tweak the settings of his digital ear. I was fascinated to learn that researchers were able to squeeze so much extra performance out of the medical device without any upgrades to the implanted hardware.

Don’t forget to vote for Shelley!
Her research may someday make electronic implants obsolete.



  1. #1 Ian
    October 18, 2007

    Why did he loose it? That’s a sure way to lose it. He should keep his hearing tightly applied to the sides of his head and nto let it loose at all 😉

    Otherwise it’s a great blog on the topic.

  2. #2 Abbie
    October 19, 2007

    Michael Chorost’s book Rebuilt is the “bible” for those researching cochlear implants and those implanted. When I was researching an alternative technology to help me hear, his book is what catapulted me in obtaining a cochlear implant. His prose leans on the technological side but his experiences are down right correlative. I picked it up and I could not put it down.

    The cochlear implants of today are approximately using 20% of its capacity, which comforts me knowing that I might not have to upgrade 15-20 years down the road. It is a truly a piece of modern technology.

    Your research has piqued my curiosity in how it will affect the technology geared for the deaf and hard of hearing. I wish you the best of luck.

  3. #3 Tina B.
    October 28, 2007

    My son is deaf and has no interest in a cochlear implant.I wish he would, science is amazing.

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