Many individuals with severe to profound hearing loss may still have some measurable hearing especially in the low frequencies. This measurable hearing is referred to as residual hearing. Often these individuals are excellent candidates for EAS.
Preserving residual hearing for EAS candidates is vitally important because it enables them to use the natural hearing they have left. Although, cochlear implants are remarkable for their ability to provide hearing, being able to additionally use residual hearing provides the user with outstanding listening experience opportunities. Therefore, for those who have residual hearing, preservation during an EAS cochlear implant procedure is important for their hearing both now and in the future.
Preserving residual hearing is aided through the design of an electrode array which is inserted gently into the cochlea. MED‑EL electrodes have been specifically engineered to preserve residual hearing through their soft and flexible design featuring wave-shaped wires. This design gently follows the natural shape of the cochlea when being inserted. Therefore, a surgeon is able to use minimal insertion force when placing the electrode into the cochlea. Greater insertion force increases the risk of damage to the sensitive neural tissues and structures that enable hearing.
MED-EL electrode arrays feature wave-shaped wires for gentle insertion into the cochlea. The wave-shaped wire design makes MED-EL electrode arrays the world's softest and most flexible.
In many cases, cochlear implant candidates have some, although minimal, degree of residual hearing. Unlike EAS candidates, however, they are not likely to benefit from it. Preserving residual hearing is still essential for cochlear implant candidates because it is used as a measurement to illustrate that the neural structures have not been damaged.
Helping to ensure that the neural tissues are left undamaged is seen as critical for all cochlear implant patients, but especially for young children who may face multiple implantations in their lifetime. It is likely that any future interventions, be they device, biological, or pharmaceutical in nature, will be more successful in a cochlea that has received minimal trauma through reduced insertion force.
At MED‑EL, we consider your future to be equally important as your present well being. This philosophy has driven us to design the most flexible and softest electrodes available to help preserve the delicate structures of the cochlea.