Types of Hearing Implants

What are cochlear implants and middle ear implants?

Cochlear implants are one of a range of options for children with severe to profound sensorineural hearing loss. A cochlear implant is a special kind of hearing aid which has two parts. It has an inside part, called the implant, which is put into the inner ear during an operation. The outside part, called a sound processor, can be worn behind the ear or attached to clothing. A person with severe or profound hearing loss is then able to hear sound.

Middle ear implants (MEIs) are implantable devices that are used to overcome conductive or mixed hearing losses within the mild, moderate and severe hearing loss ranges. MEIs are suitable for children who are unable to wear conventional hearing aids or who may be suffering with repeated skin problems with a Bone Anchored Hearing Aid (BAHA).

The device is surgically implanted in the middle ear and takes over the job of the middle ear structures to transmit sounds to the cochlea. MEIs are typically used with an external audio processor which is worn behind the ear and held in place by a magnetic connection across the skin. Assessment for a middle ear implant is carried out between staff at the Hearing Implant Programme and the Audiology Department.

You can find out more about cochlear implants and middle ear implants here.