Cochlear Implants, Hearing Aids, and Hearing Resources

    Cochlear Implants, Hearing Aids, and Hearing Resources
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History

In the 1960s, Adam Kissiah began to experience hearing loss.  As a NASA engineer, he had education and experience in electronics and became self motivated to study and research the disciplines of hearing and acoustics.  The Kennedy Space Center Library provided a wealth of resources sources for study in the fields of both hearing and acoustics, and through his research and development, he proposed a design for the successful transmission of “intelligence” to the hearing center of the human brain.   With NASA's assistance, Adam obtained United States Patent # 4,063,048 (Reissue 31,031) for an Implantable Electronic Hearing Aid that provided the basic engineering specification for all Cochlear Implants.  Widely in use today, Cochlear Implants are surgically implanted electronic devices that restore the ability to hear sound and understand speech.  The implant is a prosthetic replacement that circumvents damaged cells, providing direct stimulation to hearing nerve fibers in the inner ear.

Subsequent to the Patent issuance, Kissiah signed an Agreement with Biostim, Inc. to develop and market the Implantable Hearing Aid, resulting in the development of an experimental Cochlear Implant, and associated approval by the Food and Drug Administration for experimental human implantation.

Due to many legal and financial considerations associated with company size and name recognition, with respect to attracting research and investment funds, it was deemed necessary to become more closely associated with established Medical R & D Institutions.  This caused eventual dissolution of Biostim, Inc. and a disbursement of key personnel into the medical development community.

Adam Kissiah remained in his career employment with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. 

Since this time, numerous hearing aid manufacturers have applied Kissiah’s patented concept to their cochlear implant products.  As Adam himself puts it, the cochlear implant “only works one way.”

The Cochlear Implant Association estimates over 66,000 patients have received an implant, creating what is today a $1.65 billion industry. The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association further states that cochlear implantation consistently ranks among the most cost-effective medical procedures ever reported.  However, Adam did not benefit financially from the success of the product, and has only recently begun to receive long overdue recognition (see below).

In the midst of the recognition surrounding his invention, Adam Kissiah has remained extremely humble about his role.  "Regardless of what level of participation I had, it is nice to know I contributed to making many lives better,” he said.

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