TOP NEWS and HEADLINES in December

  • NIDCD Set to Fund Tinnitus Research
  • Siemens Hearing Instruments and Medical Minute on CNBC
  • Cochlear Americas Offers Implant Upgrade
  • ReSound Forms Global Audiology Group
  • HIMSA Certifies TIMS Software Integration With NOAH
  • Vivosonicfs President/CEO Yuri Sokolov Resigns
  • Audigy Group Celebrates Successful Fall 2009 Member Summit
  • [Christopher Turner] Receives NIH Challenge Grant to Study Hybrid Cochlear Implant
  • Dynamic Ear Co Introduces Passive Hearing Protection Filters
  • How Our Brains Can Fill in the Gaps to Create Continuous Sound
  • NIDCD Asks How to Make Hearing Health Care More Affordable, Accessible for Adults with Hearing Loss
  • Tactile Input Affects What We Hear, Says Study


  • Otologics introduces Carina™ middle-ear implant. December was a busy month in the news for implant makers. Otologics, Boulder, Colo, introduced Carina, a fully implantable hearing system that picks up sounds using a microphone implanted under the skin and transmits amplified signals directly into the middle ear. The tip of the Carina transducer is in contact with the middle-ear anatomy, and the transducer translates electrical signals into a mechanical motion that directly stimulates the middle ear. Carina consists of the implant (composed of capsule that houses the electronics, a microphone system, and the middle ear transducer), the programming system, the charger, and a remote control. Carina is programmed according to the wearer’s specific amplification needs using fitting and diagnostic software, a radio-frequency coil that communicates to the implant, and a NOAH link wireless programming interface. Programming is done in the same manner as programming digital hearing aids. The charger system consists of the base station, charging coil, and charger body. To charge the implant, the wearer removes the charger body from the base station and places the coil on the skin, over the implant site. Typically, charging time will be about 1 hour and must be performed daily, says the company. While recharging the implant, the wearer can perform normal daily activities, turn the implant on and off, and adjust the volume. A remote is used for controlling the device when it is not being charged, and it allows wearers to turn the implant on and off, and to adjust the volume. For more information, visit otologics.com/advantage.htm.
  • Envoy Medical moves closer to offering Esteem® middle-ear implant. Envoy Medical, St Paul, Minn, took a significant step in being able to offer its Esteem fully implantable hearing system in the United States. On December 18, an Advisory Panel of 15 independent ENT experts unanimously recommended that the FDA approve the Esteem. Envoy Medical CEO Patrick Spearman said, “This is great news for all sensorineural hearing loss sufferers. Envoy has been able to accomplish with the Esteem what hearing aids set out to do but were unable to.” The device, based on pacemaker technology, is implanted under the skin behind the ear. Two leads extend into the middle ear from the device. Sound waves travel into the ear canal and set the ear drum into motion, causing the bones of the middle ear to vibrate. The device senses these movements and delivers a customized dose of energy to the cochlea, which transmits the signals to the brain. In a clinical trial, patients using Esteem reportedly averaged an 11 dB improvement in SRT scores beyond their hearing aids; at a quiet conversation level, average patient speech understanding improved by more than 45% over their hearing aids. The Advisory Panel’s vote is a recommendation only, and the FDA will still have to formally approve the Esteem before it can be marketed to the public. For more information, visit www.envoymedical.com.

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