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First Totally Implanted Hearing Aid

A 49-year-old woman has received the UK’s first totally implanted hearing aid, Otologics Carina, in a procedure performed at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth. The device, designed by the South of England Cochlear Implant Centre, consists of a rechargeable battery, a signal processor and a microphone, which are implanted under the skin. These are connected to a tiny electromagnetic vibrator which is placed inside the mastoid bone behind the ear, and attaches to the hearing bones. The hearing aid is designed for people with moderate to severe hearing loss, who are unable to use conventional hearing aids due to ear canal infections, allergies, or closed ear canals. The South of England Cochlear Implant Centre’s Sarah Flynn said that the main advantage of the approach is to bypass the external ear canal and deliver mechanical vibration directly to the hearing bones, avoiding the side effects of ear moulds.

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