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Best Life: New device helping patients hear better without discomfort

Updated: Jun. 4, 2021 at 8:35 AM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - About 15 percent of all American adults report some trouble hearing, yet fewer than one in three people who could benefit from hearing aids have ever used them. Now, a new hearing implant has the potential to help people with hearing issues who have been unable to use devices in the past.

It’s called the Boneridge, what’s known as a bone conduction device.

“If you tap your skull, you can actually hear sound within the bone itself,” said Ravi N. Samy, MD, FACS Chief, Div. of Otology/Neurotology at the University of Cincinnati.

With normal hearing, sound vibrations go through the outer ear, into the inner ear. The Bonebridge is surgically implanted and bypasses the damaged outer ear by picking up sounds and sending them directly to the inner ear through the bones of the skull.

“I’ll just make an incision behind the ear, open up the skin behind the ear and then actually drill into the bone and then put the device into the bone,” said Samy.

Patients wear an external sound processor, which is magnetically held in place over the implant. When audiologists activate the device, it restores their hearing.

The Bonebridge works best for people with conductive, mixed hearing loss or single-sided deafness and is an option for those who have trouble wearing hearing aids.

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