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Expert technical support is essential for implantable hearing solutions

CHi insists on fast and effective technical and back-up support of all implantable hearing solutions. The reason is simple: with cochlear implants in particular, technical support during surgery is vital to ensure you get the best possible outcome from the procedure.

During your surgery, a trained clinical engineer is right there in the theatre, performing various measurements which provide information about the implant’s integrity and the electrode’s position within the cochlea. Should a problem be detected, the engineer advises your surgeon to use the back-up implant that is always available in the theatre. The engineer is also able to answer the surgeon’s questions about the implant itself or the recommended surgical technique for the specific type of implant.

Post-operatively, the clinical engineer provides a wide range of supporting services to you as well as to your professional healthcare team. For example, the engineer plays a key role in the mapping/fitting your implant device by assisting your audiologist to adjust it to your specific needs. Although all CHi audiologists who work with cochlear implants have received specialised training, they sometimes require additional support in challenging cases. Our clinical engineers also ensure that the CHi audiologists and other professionals are regularly informed about further product-developments and improvements.

Another very important part of an effective support system is the fast and reliable handling of repairs and exchanges when necessary. At CHi, we are acutely aware that implant recipients need their hearing solutions, and any repairs or adjustments must be made as quickly as possible.

When is technical support required? 

Effective technical clinical support starts before the actual implantation. The clinical engineer will work with the audiologist and ENT surgeon in determining whether an individual is a suitable candidate for an implant, as well as with selection of the electrode and management of the required surgical tools.  Technical support then plays an essential during your surgery and post-operatively.  If your case is a particularly challenging one, the clinical engineer can provide technical support directly to you in order to sort out any potential device-related issues.

What type of technical support is provided by the clinical engineer?

  • Helping your surgeon to select the right type of hearing implant and electrode for your specific type of hearing loss
  • Assisting during the actual surgical procedure to ensure all devices are fitted in the right place and are working as they should be.
  • Assisting your audiologist with the fitting and mapping of the device, thus helping to adjust it to your individual needs.
  • Handling repairs and exchanges of devices
  • Answering any general technical questions or queries you may have which your surgeon or audiologist may not be able to answer.
  • Answering questions you may have about medical treatments/therapies you may want to undergo, such electrostimulation, which could potentially damage the implant or the external device.

What should you do if you experience problems with your device after surgery?  

If the problem is medically related, you should always contact your surgeon/doctor/healthcare professional. For any other potential issues, e.g. hearing is not satisfactory or technical problems with the external devices, the go-to person is always your audiologist. The audiologist can make changes to the fitting and therefore alter the hearing experience. The audiologist can also run integrity checks on the implant and can help with external device troubleshooting.

If the problem cannot be solved by the audiologist, a clinical engineer will be consulted to provide technical support in order to solve the issue.

Are back up devices, replacement parts and accessories for implanted hearing solutions readily available?

CHi has not one but two suppliers of spare parts and exchange devices – MEDEL South Africa and Oticon Medical. This helps to ensure that we are able to obtain what we need to keep your implant device in top condition as quickly as possible. Meanwhile, a back up device may also be available for you to use.