More than 20 deaf people who have received cochlear implants at the University of Utah Hospital meet this week for an update on the technology that is helping restore their hearing, officials say.

Twenty-two of the 35 people who have received Utah-designed cochlear implants since the device received Food and Drug Administration approval in 1984 for trial use will meet Friday at the University Hospital."Over the years, many patients have approached me following surgery with questions about their implants," said Dr. James Parkin, the artificial ear project's chief surgeon.

"They're curious about everything from the surgical technique itself to the technology behind the sound-processing units they are using," Parkin said. "This workshop is the perfect forum for us to answer those questions, as well as to introduce patients to some home rehabilitation techniques we've developed."

The multichannel electronic hearing system performs hearing-related functions by a 13-ounce battery-powered sound processor, which is connected by a cable to six tiny electrodes implanted in the cochlea - the part of the inner ear containing the auditory nerve endings.

Parkin said the Utah implant is designed for the 165,000 deaf Americans whose deafness is related to a sensory loss when microscopic hair cells in the inner ear are destroyed by disease, old age, or exposure to loud sounds or drugs.