Implantable Hearing Aid

In the year 2000, an implantable hearing aid was approved for public sale. The first such implanted aid uses a small electronic coil that is connected to one of the bones of the middle ear. The sound is picked up by a microphone and processor that is placed outside, behind the ear. The signal is transmitted through the skin to a receiver implanted in the mastoid bone (the bony part of your skull behind the ear). The receiver is connected by a tiny wire to the electronic coil in the middle ear. That coil vibrates with the amplified signal and thus cause the middle ear bones to vibrate as if they had been stimulated by the ear drum.

The device relies on the cochlea and hearing nerve functions to carry the amplified sound from the middle ear.

The device is not advertised for more severe losses. Cost is quite high (estimate $15000). Advertised benefits include improved comfort and more natural hearing since nothing occludes (blocks) the ear canal. You can find out more by clicking on the following links:

Since then, another type of aid has been developed which is sometimes referred to as an implanted hearing aid. The "implanted" part of this aid is a small tube that is surgically inserted to bridge from the front of the user's pinna (the visible part of your ear) into the ear canal.

Other than that, the aid is similar to a normal hearing aid; the amplified sound is injected into the ear canal through the implanted tube and vibrates the ear drum. Learn more about the RetroX hearing aid at the Auric Hearing Systems web site.

The advantage is that nothing occludes the ear canal. The disadvantage is that the solution is relatively expensive, involves minor surgery, and is not suitable for more serious losses.

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