Sensorineural Hearing Loss with Chronic Ear Infections

Do you have hearing loss and can’t wear hearing aids? Katherine's story isn't real, but is based on the experiences of many people who have hearing loss but are unable to use hearing aids for medical reasons, such as ear infections. If this sounds similar to your own experiences, then a middle ear implant could be an option for you.

About Katherine

Katherine has experienced hearing loss her whole life and used hearing aids for many years. But when chronic ear infections meant she could no longer use her hearing aids, she didn't know what to do. Find out how VIBRANT SOUNDBRIDGE restored Katherine’s hearing, and gave her back her independence.

Katherine's Story

When I was a child, a routine hearing test indicated that I had moderate hearing loss. An audiologist recommended that I try hearing aids, which worked out very well. I did well in school and fit right in with all the other kids.

When I was in high school, I joined my school’s swim team. I really enjoyed it, but after a few months, I noticed that it was becoming increasingly painful to wear my in-ear hearing aids. Soon, it became nearly unbearable. When I went to my clinic, my doctor told me that I had a condition called Otitis Externa, also known as Swimmer’s Ear, which causes irritation to skin inside the ear canal.

My doctor told me that I had Otitis Externa, also known as Swimmer’s Ear, which causes irritation to skin inside the ear canal.


She prescribed antibiotic ear drops and told me to go without hearing aids until the inflammation cleared up. After a few weeks, my ears felt better, so I went back to using my hearing aids. However, the irritation soon returned and I couldn’t use my hearing aids again. My doctor said this is common, and prescribed another round of treatment, but the inflammation returned every time I tried to use my hearing aids. We even tried adapting my hearing aids but nothing seemed to help.

My doctor told me it had become Chronic Otitis Externa and that I probably wouldn't be able to use my hearing aids anymore. Without them, I found it difficult to keep up with my classes and my grades began to slip. I had been very outgoing and sociable before, but I felt isolated and self-conscious without my hearing.


In the spring of my senior year, I got a letter of acceptance to my first-choice university. I was excited, but after struggling for nearly a year without hearing aids, I knew I needed to find a way to get my hearing back. My audiologist recommended that I check out a middle ear implant called SOUNDBRIDGE, which could send sounds directly to my inner ear—while also leaving my ear canal completely free.


I was excited, but nervous. I read all about the SOUNDBRIDGE and watched first-hand stories from real users. I talked about all the possibilities with my family and friends. I knew I was ready for a change, so I met with an ENT specialist and scheduled the surgery for the beginning of summer. I chose to get two implants right away so I could use both my ears.

The surgery only took a few hours, and I was even able to go home the same evening. After about 6 weeks, I was ready for my activation day. When my audiologist activated my audio processors, I was blown away. How could such amazing sounds come from something so small? I could finally hear all the sounds I had been missing for more than a year. My parents’ voices were so clear and natural, and I was even able to listen to music on the way home!

When my audiologist activated my audio processors, I was blown away. How could such amazing sounds come from something so small?


My friends were amazed that I could hear so well. And they were surprised that I could cover my processors with my hair so easily. I really appreciated that my processors are worn off the ear, so I could comfortably wear them all day. By the time I started university that autumn, I was so used to my new ears that I really couldn’t imagine getting by without them.

Why Katherine Chose MED-EL

Nothing in the Ear

Having hearing aids in her ears had caused Katherine to get a lot of ear infections. With SOUNDBRIDGE, Katherine no longer has to wear anything in her ears, meaning she can experience optimal hearing without the chronic infections she suffered from before.

Natural Sound Quality

For Katherine, the most important consideration was how well she was going to hear. SOUNDBRIDGE is designed to provide natural sound quality from the moment it’s activated, enabling Katherine to experience things as they are meant to sound.

Easy to Use

Katherine wanted an audio processor that she could simply put on and forget about, and that’s exactly what her SAMBA 2 Audio Processors are built to do. Katherine also likes that she can hide them away under her hair, so that no one knows she’s even wearing an audio processor.

Speech in Noise

Katherine used to have trouble understanding her friends in busy places like restaurants. But with SAMBA 2’s dual microphones focusing in on the person speaking, Katherine now feels confident chatting with friends, wherever she is.

Clear Listening

Katherine’s hearing aids had sometimes created an annoying feedback noise, which was uncomfortable in her ears. She was pleased to find out that feedback noise wasn't even possible with SOUNDBRIDGE, giving Katherine clear and comfortable hearing all day long.

These profiles are composites based on real recipients’ experiences. These profiles should not be considered as medical advice or recommendations. These hearing loss profiles are designed to help people better understand the overall hearing journey. Every individual’s hearing is different, so you should speak to your clinician to find out what is best for your needs.



The VIBRANT SOUNDBRIDGE can provide natural sound quality for individuals with moderate-to-severe hearing loss, who can't wear hearing aids for medical reasons. Find out how SOUNDBRIDGE could make a difference in your life.

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