Austria-based hearing implant systems provider MED-EL Medical Electronics has obtained European approval for its Bonebridge hearing implant system for clinical use in children over five years old.
MED-EL has announced the active bone conduction implant two years ago for use in adults and now the implant will be able to transform the hearing ability of children for the first time.
The Bonebridge hearing implant system enables individuals with conductive hearing loss or single-sided deafness to hear again by transmitting sound through the bones of the skull.
MED-EL Medical Electronics’ innovative hearing implant system features an implant and an audio processor.
The implant sends signals to audio processor and these signals will be converted into mechanical vibrations by the processor. The mechanical vibrations are then transferred to the bones of the skull, which forwards the sound waves to the inner ear.
The Bonebridge system incorporates transcutaneous intact-skin technology. The company claims that the Bonebridge is the first bone conduction implant system that uses an implant positioned completely under the surface of the skin. The protective role of the skin is therefore fully preserved.
MED-EL UK managing director Cassandra Brown noted that the fact that the implant remains under the skin is especially important for children because it means that there is no risk of infection from the outside.
"This distinguishes Bonebridge from other systems that use bone conduction. Aesthetic considerations also play an important role and the implant is completely invisible as it is located under the intact skin," Brown added.
MED-EL’s Bonebridge bone conduction implant is suitable for individuals with medical conditions which detain sound from being transmitted naturally through the ear. The main indications for treatment with the Bonebridge system are conduction and mixed hearing loss as well as single-sided deafness.
In March 2014, MED-EL has received award from the Austrian State Prize for Innovation for its development of the Bonebridge bone conduction implant.
The Bonebridge hearing implant system is now being used in all five continents worldwide.
Image: MED-EL Medical Electronics’ Bonebridge hearing implant system. Photo: Courtesy of MED-EL Medical Electronics