Implantable Hearing Devices

Cochlear Implants

A cochlear implant is a medical device for people with a severe to profound sensorineural hearing loss who are not able to sufficiently benefit from a hearing aid. A Cochlear Implant is a system which bypasses the part of the cochlear that is not working and delivers an electrical stimulation, through the electrode array inserted into the cochlear, delivering it directly to the auditory nerve. They can be used by children and adults. It consists of two parts, an externally worn audio processor and an internal implant consisting of an internal processor, electrode array and magnet with antenna, which is surgically placed under the skin behind the ear lobe. The external audio processor is worn behind the ear and consists of a control unit, battery and magnetic coil that transmits information through the skin to the implant. A cochlear implant candidacy assessment is conducted to ascertain if this is a suitable solution for you. The assessment usually takes approximately three hours and requires follow up by the ENT who will conduct investigations to assess surgical candidacy.

Middle Ear Implants

There are two different solutions to providing benefit for people with conductive or mixed hearing losses. They consist of the Bone anchored hearing aid Bone Bridge or the Vibrant Sound Bridge. The decision is based on many factors particularly the patients hearing thresholds and other medical problems. Again a candidacy assessment is conducted and usually takes three hours followed by the review by the ENT surgeon.

  • The Bonebridge

    The Bonebridge is a bone conduction device which is transcutaneous meaning the skin remains intact. It allows the sound to be directly transmitted to the inner ear by means of bone conduction. So basically it bypasses the outer and middle ear system and transmits sound via the cranial bones to the inner ear to stimulate the auditory nerve. It is suitable for people with conductive hearing loss, mixed hearing loss and single sided deafness. It consists of the external audio processor, worn behind the ear and an implant positioned surgically under the skin. The audio processor is kept intact by the magnetic attraction between the external and internal magnets. Sound waves are recorded by the processor and transmitted as electrical signals to the implant which converts them into mechanical vibrations to the inner ear and transmitted to the brain as sound. It can be activated approximately two weeks after surgery when the suture line has healed.

  • Cochlear Baha Attract

    Cochlear has just released their smallest and smartest bone conduction sound processor, the Cochlear BAHA 5 Attract System, which is now available for new and existing BAHA patients is a transcutaneous bone conduction processor which is smaller than their previous generation and 15% lighter. It has smart signal processing technologies and direct-to-device connectivity which add richness to the experience and open up more possibilities for a lifetime of better hearing. The sound processor and new SP Magnet Colour covers come in a range of hair blending colours. The Baha 5 Sound Processor is the only bone conduction sound processor that delivers true direct-to-device wireless hearing without the need for bulky body-worn hardware. Patients can stream sound and control their sound processor directly from iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.

  • The Vibrant Soundbridge

The Vibrant Soundbridge is the most successful middle ear implant in the world and was invented in 1996 by Geoffrey Ball who was also the first person to be implanted. It has opened possibilities for people who have not benefited from conventional hearing aids due to a conductive loss from chronic ear canal, middle ear pathology or unsuccessful middle ear surgery. The basic concept is that it can bypass the middle ear and send the signal through vibration directly to the cochlear where it is perceived as normal sound. It can be an effective solution for people who have a conductive or mixed loss.

The Vibrant Soundbridge (VSB) consists of the Amade external processor and the internal implant component called the Floating Mass Transducer which can enable various forms of hearing loss to be managed with an improvement in a natural sound quality for speech and natural sounds.