About 15% of all American adults report some hearing trouble. Yet, fewer than one in three people who could benefit from hearing aids have ever used them.
Now a new hearing implant has the potential to help people with hearing issues who have been unable to use devices in the past.
For the millions of Americans who have trouble hearing, hearing aids or implantable devices can be life-changing.
For some, infection or injury to the ear has made that difficult, but now specialists are implanting a new device that gives patients another option.
It’s called the Bonebridge, what’s known as a bone conduction device.
“If you tap your skull, you can actually hear sound within the bone itself,” said Ravi N Samy, MD, FACS Chief Division of Otology/Neurotology, University of Cincinnati.
With normal hearing, sound vibrations go through the outer ear into the inner ear.
The Bonebridge is surgically implanted and bypasses the damaged outer ear by picking up sounds and sending them directly to the inner ear through the bones of the skull.
“It’ll just make an incision behind the ear, open up the skin behind the ear, and then actually drill into the bone and then put the device into the bone,” said Dr. Samy.
Patients wear an external sound processor which is magnetically held in place over the implant.
When audiologists activate the device, it restores their hearing.