- Published on 18 November 2020
Market approval may still be several years away for a totally implantable cochlear implant (CI), but the Austrian hearing tech firm MED-EL is currently performing its first surgeries in this direction with the project at the clinical feasibility study stage.
Liège and Munich are the scenes for a number of totally implantable CI procedures, after the world’s first of these operations was performed on September 24 by Prof. Dr. Philippe Lefebvre, head of the ENT Department of the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire of Liège.
Currently, CI systems have the microphone and speech processor in a device on the outside of the body, which receives the sound, converts it into an electrical signal, and sends it to the inside part of the cochlear implant; that inside part, made up of a receiver-stimulator, accepts, decodes, and then sends an electrical signal to the brain. The new TICI (totally implantable cochlear implant) contains all the internal and external components of a cochlear implant system in one device placed underneath the skin, including the audio processor, microphone and power supply.
"We tested the implant after surgery and are thrilled that everything is working as expected. Modern cochlear implant technology has been evolving at an impressive pace, delivering outstanding hearing results. The TICI is a milestone within the field of cochlear implantation. It has been a wish from the early days of cochlear implantation to be able to integrate all components within an internal device," pointed out Professor Lefebvre.
Source: MED-EL Elektromedizinische Geräte GmbH