Middle ear implants
A middle ear implant (MEI) is a small device inserted into the middle ear and coupled to the ossicles or the oval window.
In recent years, middle ear implants have become more common, and today there are several types of middle ear implants on the market.
The most obvious difference between middle ear implants and other hearing aids is that no speaker is necessary. Typically, middle ear implants transmits sounds to the inner ear via a microphone placed behind the ear. The microphone converts the sounds into mechanical vibrations, which are sent to a so-called floating mass transducer positioned in the middle ear.
The microphone behind the ear is kept in place by a magnet implanted underneath the skin.
Middle ear implant users
Middle ear implants are primarily used by people who do not benefit from or are unable to use traditional hearing aids, such as:
- People with an obstruction of the outer or middle ear
- People who cannot wear hearing aids or earmoulds
- People who are unable to benefit from sound amplification
Many people with sensorineural hearing loss can benefit from using middle ear implants.
As is the case for hearing aids and cochlea implants, middle ear implants do not restore normal hearing.