Scientists braved backlash to develop transformative hearing technology

The cochlear implant does not transform a deaf person into a hearing person but does "open up the world of sound and spoken language and sometimes lead to better educational achievement," writes Lydia Denworth, a science writer whose 10-year-old son has a cochlear implant. Researchers developing the implant in the 1970s faced resistance and backlash from other scientists, the NIH and the deaf community, but 320,000 people now have the implant. Three scientists whose work led to the implant were honored last week with the Lasker-DeBakey Award for Clinical Medical Research.

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