A Chinese Hearing Implant Takes Aim at Cochlear

A mainland startup’s devices sell for 50 percent less
Illustration by Joe Magee

After suddenly going deaf at age 30, Ke Liu, a civil servant in China’s eastern Jiangxi province, didn’t have many options. A cochlear implant might’ve restored his hearing, but the imported device cost tens of thousands of dollars. In 2010, Ke learned about a clinical trial for an implant made by a Chinese company, Hangzhou Nurotron Biotechnology. That year he had one surgically implanted and has since recovered nearly all of his hearing. “I have my old life back,” says the 38-year-old.

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