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National Museum of Australia

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Turban shell used by Professor Graeme Clarke

2009.0033.0006

Turban shell used by Professor Graeme Clarke

Object information

Physical description

A white seashell or turban shell inside a blue box. The box has the text 'Holistic Education' in silver lettering on the lid. The interior is lined with blue satin fabric and there is a blue satin ribbon hinge.

Statement of significance

The Graeme Clark/University of Melbourne/Cochlear Limited Collection consists of thirteen individual pieces of medical equipment and other objects related to the development of the bionic ear.

In 1970 Graeme Clark commenced as Foundation Professor of the Department of Otolaryngology at the University of Melbourne. In that role he led the team that developed the prototype bionic ear, which was implanted into the first patient, Rod Saunders, in 1978. This success led to commercial interest in the technology and, with the support of a federal government grant, in 1982 the Nucleus 22-channel was commercially produced by the Australian firm Cochlear Limited. Following an international clinical trial it was approved for use in 1985. It was the first multiple-electrode implant to be approved by any world regulatory body. Today approximately 80,000 people in more than 70 countries have received a Cochlear implant . The bionic ear has been hailed by many as the first major advance in the management of deafness since the introduction of sign language some 200 years ago. Professor Clark was Director of the Bionic Ear Institute from 1984 - 2005.

Object information

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