Patients with Middle Ear Troubles Could Hear Again with New Implant
January 16, 2013 4:21 PM
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The new implant doesn't require a screw and will not lead to skin infections
A new implant can act as a
replacement for those suffering from chronic inflammation of the outer or middle ear, bone disease, or congenital malformations of the outer ear, auditory canal or middle ear.
The implant was developed by a team of researchers from the Chalmers University of Technology and Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Gothenburg, and led by Professor Bo Håkansson of the Department of Signals and Systems at Chalmers University of Technology.
While hearing aids are mainly for patients with neurological problems in the inner ear, those with mechanical hearing loss in the middle ear cannot benefit from them. Instead, these patients typically obtain implants that must be anchored to the skull using a titanium screw through the skin. However, patients must worry about losing the screw or infections in the skin.
Now, the new study has
created an implant
that doesn't require a screw and will not lead to skin infections.
The implant, called Bone Conduction Implant (BCI), which is less than six centimeters long, is inserted right behind the ear and attaches to the skull bone just beneath the skin. The skull bone is used to transmit sound vibrations to the inner ear through bone conduction.
The team even had their device implanted in the first patient on December 5, 2012. The surgery went well, and the implant was functional. It takes six weeks before the implant can be turned on, so it isn't clear what those results are yet. However, previous tests showed that patients can achieve a volume of 5 decibels higher and a better quality of sound at high frequencies.
Once the implant is turned on, it will be examined every three months until a year. At that point, a final X-ray and hearing test will be conducted.
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