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Successful introduction of the totally implantable hearing aid.

The extraordinarily great potential benefit of a totally implantable hearing aid for patients who suffer from hearing loss has been discussed in these pages before. [1] Despite many delays, the totally implantable hearing aid is now available. In this issue of EAR, NOSE & THROAT JOURNAL, Professor Hans Zenner, MD, chairman of the Department of Otolaryngology at the University of Tubingen in Germany, describes the current status of the Implex TICA LZ 3001 totally implantable hearing aid.

The first implants in humans were performed in 1998, and the system was approved for routine use in Europe in October 1999. The device is completely implanted. The system is similar to that developed by Suzuki and Yanagihara and colleagues in Japan. It involves a hermetically sealed conventional microphone, battery, electronic unit, and piezoelectric vibrator of the ossicular chain. The major advance that made this system possible was the perfection of a battery that could be safely implanted. It is likely that all patients who wish to have their hearing restored to normal without the use of a conventional hearing aid, and who can afford to do so, will obtain totally implanted hearing aids.

The surgery required to implant the device can be performed under local or general anesthesia in an outpatient setting. This procedure confers far less risk of postoperative vertigo and sensorineural hearing loss than does stapedectomy. The battery life of this prosthesis is acceptable, and it will no doubt increase significantly with advanced technology in the future. The same totally implantable microphones and batteries will also be used soon for cochlear implants, which will make them totally implantable as well.

We have entered a new and exciting phase in otology that will remain prominent until hearing loss can be prevented and lost hearing can be restored by advances in gene engineering and molecular biology.





(1.) Pulec JL. The totally implantable hearing aid [editorial]. Ear Nose Throat J 1994:73:69.
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Comment:Successful introduction of the totally implantable hearing aid.
Publication:Ear, Nose and Throat Journal
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 1, 2000
Previous Article:Stethoscopes online.
Next Article:Glomus jugulare.

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