Dec. 28, 2001 ROCHESTER, MINN. -- A new hearing device that is implanted in your middle ear may provide better sound quality than conventional hearing aids, according to the January issue of Mayo Clinic Health Letter.
The device includes internal and external parts that work together to deliver sound to the middle ear. The external part, called a processor, includes a battery, microphone, speech processor and transmitter. About the size of a quarter, it attaches magnetically just above the ear. The processor picks up sound and transmits to a receiver implanted in the skull.
The device mimics how normal hearing works, transmitting sound straight to the bones in the middle ear. In traditional hearing aids, sound is transmitted through the ear drum, which can give the wearer the feeling of talking in a barrel. They also can produce feedback -- squeaks and whistles that are audible to others.
Hearing experts say the new device can provide clearer sound and less feedback than other hearing aids. However, surgically implanted devices cost substantially more. Discuss your individual situation with your hearing specialist.
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