Implantable Hearing Aids

Timothy C. Hain, M.D. • Page last modified: April 23, 2018

See also: BAHA type hearing aids.Hearing aids

There are several hearing-aid devices that can be implanted into the middle ear, to boost the hearing in the implanted ear. These devices provide potentially better hearing at the price of repeated surgery and risk. As studies emerge, it appears that results may be better for a successfully implanted device (Ihler et al, 2013). These devices have to compete with cheaper, larger and more mature devices (hearing aids) that do not need surgical implantation. These devices are also different from devices that just pass sound to the other ear -- Baha and Cros, which are for a different population -- persons with unilateral hearing loss.

Some of the implanted devices prevent MRI scans from being possible.

Click for information about the more mainstream devices - -the hearing aids and Cochlear Implants.

In a recent study of active middle ear implants, McRackan et al (2018) reported sightly better results with "active middle ear implants" than conventional hearing aids. They said "Mean word recognition was better with MEIs than with HAs (81.8% ± 12.0% vs. 77.6% ± 14.6%, P = 0.035). " Note that this difference was just barely significant, and also that this study could not possibly be placebo controlled.

Our view is that presently, these devices are still "not ready for prime time". We do not see them as a "luxury hearing aids". Rather, we see them as "foolish surgery" (in most people).