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Individuals with partial hearing loss may benefit from hybrid cochlear implant
Date:1/11/2011

mprovement to what is currently available."

Cochlear implants were FDA approved in 1984 as a treatment option for restoring hearing in people with severe and profound hearing loss. The surgical implant system is designed to stimulate the auditory nerve by bypassing damaged parts of the ear. A small battery-operated mini "computer" and microphone are worn on the outside of the ear and convert sounds into electric signals. The signals are then transmitted to implant electrodes in the cochlea, which stimulate the nerve endings so sound can be perceived by the brain.

The hybrid cochlear implant works in the same way as traditional cochlear implants, stimulating nerve endings in the cochlear so that high-pitched sounds can be heard. In addition, it also involves amplification for low-pitched sounds, similar to a hearing aid. Like traditional cochlear implants, the hybrid version is worn outside the ear and converts sounds into acoustic and electric signals.

"The surgical implantation of cochlear devices is typically done on an outpatient basis, and usually with non-serious complications, aside from mild discomfort following surgery," said Northwestern Medicine otolaryngologist Alan Micco, MD, co-investigator of the study and chief of otology/neurotology at the Feinberg School of Medicine. "A few weeks following surgery, the activation process and fine-tuning take place to determine what audio thresholds work best for the individual, and sounds can usually be perceived shortly thereafter."

Post-activation evaluations take place at three, six and 12 months following the initial activation process to assess progress of the cochlear implant. An audiologist will also test the implant to determine if participants are able to understand words, sentences in noisy and quiet environments, as well as music recognition.

A few months post-surgery, Groves is happy to have some of his hearing restored. "I'm very excited and encouraged by
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Contact: Angela Salerno
asalerno@nmh.org
312-926-8327
Northwestern Memorial Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

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