Earlens FAQ: How Does Earlens Use Light to Transmit Sound?

posted By: Earlens Web | 01.26.17

Earlens FAQ: How Does Earlens Use Light to Transmit Sound?


Contrary to what it may sound like, Earlens is not a solar-powered hearing aid. Earlens uses light to transmit sound, but that light does not come from the outside environment.


The Earlens Hearing Aid consists of 3 main parts: the rechargeable Photon Processor, the Light Tip, and the Lens. The Photon Processor is worn behind the ear like a traditional behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing device. It captures sound from the outside world, enhances the sounds and sends it to the Light Tip. The Light Tip is worn inside the ear canal and transforms sound received through the Photon Processor into pulses of non-visible light. Those pulses of light activate a small, custom built Lens worn on the eardrum, to vibrate the eardrum in the same way that it would organically vibrate with sound waves.


The eardrum’s gentle vibrations activate the ear’s natural hearing system. The Lens itself does not need any batteries to work. Rather, it has a tiny actuator, which is driven by the light energy, much like a solar powered system. Unlike a solar power system, however, since the Light Tip converts sound waves into light pulses, the Earlens Hearing Aid does not need it to be light outside in order to work. It produces its own light instead.


Earlens works very similarly to your natural hearing system by directly vibrating the eardrum instead of sending amplified sound waves through a speaker. The eardrum’s movements vibrate the middle ear bones, which stimulate the tiny hair cells in the inner ear to signal the hearing nerve. When the brain receives messages from the hearing nerve, we perceive sound.


To learn more about how Earlens works, watch a video about the Earlens technology.

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