IM this article to a friend!

December 14, 2003

Implantable hearing aid: a new choice

From: Ninemsn, Australia - Dec 14, 2003

A Sydney man is the first Australian to receive a revolutionary hearing aid system known as The Retro-X. The system, which is implanted, delivers sounds without blocking the ear canal and is sure to suit thousands of people who find some of the old devices cumbersome.

Like thousands of Australians, Kevin Roche struggles to hear in noisy settings. He hates to admit it, even though it affects others as well.

"They find it quite frustrating in that I keep asking them to repeat the story or ask what has been going on," said Kevin Roche, the first implantable hearing aid patient.

But the last thing Kevin wants is a hearing aid. Ear specialist Phil Chang says many view hearing aids as an unwanted admission of disability while others whowant to wear one, just can't.

"It does block the whole of the ear canal and in some patients that predisposes to outer ear infection," said Dr Phil Chang, St Vincent's Hospital, Sydney.

Now, for the first time in Australia there's a totally new choice. Not to be confused with a cochlear implant, this technology involves a titanium tube, which is surgically inserted in the skin crease behind the ear to connect, out of sight, into the front ear canal.

A patient simply attaches a tiny amplifier to the tube at the start of the day and sound is transmitted directly into the hearing canal without blocking the front of the ear.

"I would have to say this represents the biggest advance in hearing aid technology in more than a decade," said Dr Chang.

The half-hour procedure can be done under local anaesthetic. Doctors, however, stress this is for selective patients with high pitch hearing loss. But that is the most common type of deafness, so the device could benefit thousands whether their problem is related to ageing or exposure to noise.

Contact: For more information visit your local GP who will refer you to a specialist audiologist.

Web link:


Source: National Nine News

© 1997-2003 ninemsn Pty Ltd - All rights reserved