FAQs for the
How do people hear?
Hearing is a complicated process. Sound signals in the environment funnel into the ear, where a series of reactions convert acoustic energy into electrical impulses that the brain can understand. The body reacts to sound so quickly, we are able to listen in real time.
For a more detailed explanation about how hearing works, please see the section “How Hearing Works”.
How does the VIBRANT SOUNDBRIDGE
Middle Ear Implant work?
Middle ear implants mechanically vibrate the middle ear structures. These vibrations can be amplified and adjusted to compensate for different types and degrees of hearing loss. For more information about the Vibrant Soundbridge Middle Ear Implant System, click here.
How is the VIBRANT SOUNDBRIDGE
different from a hearing aid?
Hearing aids, which are worn in the ear canal, amplify sound acoustically in order to increase the movement of the eardrum and indirectly vibrate the middle ear structures. In contrast, the Vibrant Soundbridge provides an enhanced signal to the inner ear by directly vibrating the middle ear structures while leaving the ear canal open and the eardrum undisturbed.
How many people have received
the VIBRANT SOUNDBRIDGE?
Thousands of people have been implanted with the Vibrant Soundbridge worldwide.
What is the difference between the VIBRANT
SOUNDBRIDGE and a cochlear implant?
Cochlear implants are designed for individuals who are affected by severe to profound hearing loss. They are implanted directly in the inner ear, or cochlea, where they electrically stimulate the nerves through a series of electrodes. In contrast, the Vibrant Soundbridge is designed for hearing-impaired people with mild to severe hearing loss. It provides an enhanced signal to the inner ear by directly vibrating the middle ear structures.
- What is the size of the VIBRANT SOUNDBRIDGE?
How often will I need to change the battery?
The battery life depends on usage and device settings. A typical patient who uses their Vibrant Soundbridge 12-16 hours a day may need to change the battery about once a week.
How long does the implant procedure take?
The procedure to implant the Vibrant Soundbridge takes approximately one to two hours.
Are any activities restricted because of
the VIBRANT SOUNDBRIDGE?
While the Vibrant Soundbridge does not impose restrictions on most daily activities, certain activities are not advisable. For example, contact sports in which a blow to the side of the head is possible should be avoided due to the potential damage to the internal part of the Soundbridge. The audio processor should also be removed prior to bathing, showering and swimming. Other sports such as tennis, golf, skiing and running may necessitate the need to support the audio processor with a headband, or to remove the processor during these activities.
It is advisable to remove the audio processor prior to sleeping. This allows the skin underneath the device to be exposed to the air.
Is the VIBRANT SOUNDBRIDGE
difficult to operate or manipulate?
No. Once the audio processor is placed on the head and fitted, no further action is required. Each night the audio processor should be removed from the head, and the battery compartment opened. This allows moisture in the compartment to escape and will lengthen the battery’s life. In the morning, the compartment is closed and the audio processor is replaced on the head. The battery needs to be replaced approximately every week.
Can a hearing aid be worn in
the implanted ear after surgery?
Yes, a hearing aid can be worn temporarily after surgery. Once the ear canal returns to its normal size, a hearing aid can be used for assistance until the audio processor is activated eight weeks after surgery. After the activation of the audio processor, there is no further need for a hearing aid in the implanted ear.
What does 'direct drive' mean?
Direct drive hearing technology directly stimulates the vibratory structures in the middle ear. The Vibrant Soundbridge is a direct drive device which mechanically vibrates the vibratory structure in the middle ear without surgically altering the structures of the middle ear.
Is the device safe?
Extensive clinical studies conducted in the United States and Europe* have confirmed that the Vibrant Soundbridge is a safe and effective treatment option for individuals with mild to severe sensorineural hearing loss or conductive and mixed hearing losses who are seeking an alternative to acoustic hearing aids. Implant patients are exposed to the normal risks of middle ear surgery and general anaesthesia.* Luetje C.M., Brackman D., Balkany T.J., Maw J., Baker R.S., Kelsall D., Backous D., Miyamoto R., Pariser S., Arts A. Phase III clinical trial results with the Vibrant® Soundbridge implantable middle ear hearing device: A prospective controlled multi-centerstudy. Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, 126: 97-107, February 2002.
Todt I., Seidl RO., Ernst A., Hearing benefit of patients after Vibrant Soundbridge implantation ORL J Otorhinolaryngol Relat Spec., 67(4):203-6. Epub, Aug 2005.
What about future advances and improvements
in implantable hearing technology?
The Vibrant Soundbridge is a state-of-the-art design. Nevertheless, new advances in battery technology and sound processing are being developed all the time. The Vibrant Soundbridge, with its semi-implantable design, is able to take advantage of design concepts that may become reality in the future. The user can undergo a simple fitting and go home with the latest technology available. The ability to upgrade the technology by upgrading the external portion of the Soundbridge is a significant benefit of the semi-implantable system.
How do I get a VIBRANT SOUNDBRIDGE?
If you are interested in the Vibrant Soundbridge system, contact an implanting center near you. In audiological tests, your type and degree of hearing loss will be assessed. Together with a medical examination it can be determined if the Vibrant Soundbridge is a suitable treatment for you. If you would like to be referred directly to an implant centre, or would like more information on the Vibrant Soundbridge, please contact us. We will be happy to assist you.