Newest Technologies

Patients with moderate to severe sensorineural hearing loss may be good candidates for an implantable middle ear device. These devices simulate natural hearing with greater clarity than hearing aids, and have the added bonus of leaving the ear canal open. In addition, feedback and background noise are virtually eliminated.

Several types of devices can be considered implantable hearing devices.
These include:

  • Cochlear implants
  • Hybrid cochlear implants
  • Bone-anchored hearing devices
  • Middle-ear implantable devices
Dr Jack Shohet, Shohet Ear Associates

Dr. Shohet was the first Orange-County based surgeon to implant middle ear devices. In addition, Shohet Ear Associates is one of only eight sites worldwide and six in the United States engaged in clinical trials of a totally implantable hearing aid.

Cochlear Implants

Patients with severe to profound hearing loss in both ears may benefit from a cochlear implant.

This device allows patients to actually hear sound and improve their communication. A cochlear implant provides sound perception by means of an electrode surgically implanted into the cochlea. A sophisticated combination of a microphone, processor and transmitter is worn outside the ear. The device sends hearing sensations to the implant, which in turn transmits these signals to the auditory nerve of the brain. The signals are then interpreted as sound. Cochlear implants are usually performed  on an outpatient basis. The implants are programmed in our office by a clinical audiologist.

Hybrid Cochlear Implants

A new FDA-approved device has recently come onto the market and brings together the best of two different technologies to preserve and enhance low-frequency hearing while restoring access to high-frequency hearing.

The Cochlear ™ Nucleus® Hybrid Implant System is the first and only solution to incorporate hybrid hearing to help people hear again. It is composed of a hearing aid portion to address the lower frequencies and a cochlear implant to address the higher frequencies of hearing.

For people with mild to moderate hearing loss in the low frequencies, hearing aids offer acoustic amplification to send sounds through the normal hearing pathway. The cochlear implant component of the hybrid device addresses severe to profound hearing loss or deafness and bypasses the cause of hearing loss to send electronic sound signals directly to the brain. When combined, these signals allow a full spectrum of sound.

The Cochlear Nucleus Hybrid is an implanted device that amplifies low-pitched sounds by sending them down the normal pathway of hearing. At the same time, the device’s sound processor converts high-frequency sounds to digital signals and sends them to the hearing implant. These signals combine with the amplified low-pitched sounds and turn into the full spectrum of sound that the wearer hears.

The Cochlear Nucleus Hybrid is implanted during a simple outpatient procedure.

Shohet Ear Associates was among the first practices in California to offer this innovative technology, which greatly enhances speech recognition, sound quality, and quality of life.

Bone Anchored Hearing Aids (BAHA)

Bone-anchored hearing devices are used primarily for conductive hearing loss or single-sided deafness. They are popular for hearing rehabilitation in patients with congenital ear malformations or refractory chronic ear disease. A titanium fixture is implanted in the postauricular area. An external sound processor is attached to the abutment at will. A microphone in the processor, which vibrates the bone in the skull by means of the fixture, picks up sound. The sound is transmitted directly to the inner ear on the side with conductive hearing loss or better sensorineural hearing than the other.

Implantable Middle-Ear Hearing Devices

Implantable middle-ear hearing devices were developed to treat conductive and sensorineural hearing loss. These devices improved fidelity by directly stimulating the hearing bones, and they improve comfort by allowing the ear canal to remain open. In addition, most implantable middle-ear devices almost completely eliminate feedback, one of the most annoying adverse effects of conventional aids.

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