Otolaryngologist Dr. John McElveen said the new hearing aid, called
, is ideal for people who have trouble wearing hearing aids or want more clarity.
"This would be the same group of patients that would be considering a hearing aid," Mclveen said.
During surgery, doctors put part of the device under the middle ear drum and connect it to a receiver. An external device picks up and transmits sound to the internal receiver causing it to vibrate. It stimulates the bones of the middle ear, mimicking the natural hearing process. Magnets hold the two parts of the device together.
"This has a magnet in it as well. And you just overlap - it sort of clicks here," Mclveen said.
Surgery takes about two hours, according to Mclveen.
"This is done as outpatient surgery so they come in, have the surgery, actually go home the same day," he said.
Two months after surgery, audiologists program the device and turn it on. According to Mclveen, the first implants were done at
Patients who received the first implants are finishing the programming phase, but according to doctors, they are already pleased with the results.
The new hearing aid will cost around $14,000, but many health insurers are expected to cover it.
At least one study showed that patients with the implanted hearing aid had fewer complaints about background noise distortion.
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