The BONEBRIDGE is an implantable bone conduction hearing solution. It is offered by Cape Hearing implants (CHi) to patients with certain types of hearing loss. A trial can be arranged at any of the practices of CHi.
How hearing works
The human ear consist of three parts. The outer ear, which is the visible part of the ear including the ear canal. The middle ear is made up of the eardrum and three small bones called ossicles. The inner ear houses the organ of hearing also known as the cochlea.
In the normal hearing ear, sound is usually conducted via the outer ear, thought air, into the middle ear system. The eardrum then starts to vibrate due to the sound stimulus. This, in turn, moves the ossicles (malleus, incus and stapes). From there the sound is transferred to the cochlea. The cochlea generates electrical nerve signals which are then transmitted via the auditory nerve to the brain in order for hearing to occur. This is called air conduction hearing. When sounds are louder, they cause bigger sound vibrations. These loud sounds are then able to travel through thicker or denser material like the bones of the skull. When this occurs, the sound wave causes a vibration of the skull (cranial) bones. This in turn stimulates the inner ear directly, thus bypassing the outer and middle ear. This is called hearing via bone conduction.
Different Types of Hearing Loss
When any part of the hearing system is damaged, this can cause a hearing loss. Depending on the cause and location of the damage, different types of hearing losses can be identified. There are 4 types of hearing loss that can occur. A conductive hearing loss is usually caused by a blockage or damage to the outer or middle ear i.e. a malformation of the ossicles. A sensorineural hearing loss is caused by damage to the cochlea usually by ageing or noise exposure. A mixed hearing loss is a combination of a conductive and sensorineural hearing loss. The last type of hearing loss is called single-sided deafness. This occurs when one ear has a total or profound hearing loss leaving a person with only one functioning ear. In patients with conductive hearing loss, mixed hearing loss or single-sided deafness hearing through bone conduction may then be a suitable option to remedy their hearing loss.
MED-El and implantable bone conduction
Depending on the exact nature of a person’s hearing loss, an implantable bone conduction hearing aid may be the solution to overcome their impaired hearing condition. MED-EL, a global innovation leader in hearing loss solutions, currently offers such a solution to hearing impaired patients – The BONEBRIDGE.
The BONEBRIDGE is an implantable bone conduction device. It consists of two parts. Firstly, the internal active bone conduction implant is surgically implanted into the skull by a trained Ear-, Nose- and Throat surgeon. The implant is usually placed somewhere in the area of the thick skull bone behind the ear. This is called the mastoid bone. The exact placement of the processor is determined by the surgeon and depends on various factors like the skull bone thickness and bone density. They always try and place it in the most aesthetically pleasing position as well.
Secondly, the external audio processor gets attached on the outside. This processor is kept in position above the implant via magnetic attraction. During use, sound waves are picked up by die microphones of the audio processor. This processor then converts the sound waves into electrical signals. These electrical signals are then transferred through the skin to the internal part of the BONEBRIDGE system. There, the electrical signals are converted into mechanical vibrations of the implant. These vibrations are then conducted via the skull to directly stimulate the inner ear.
Where can I find more and trial a BONEBRIDGE?
Contact any of the practices of the CHi for more information or to arrange for a BONEBRIDGE trial. Contact us.