On track towards a new category of cochlear implants

May 18, 2021

Presentation of the first in human study in Europe using a drug delivery electrode at the Hannover Medical School in cooperation with MED-EL

May 18, 2021 – (Innsbruck, Austria) – After a research period of several years in cooperation with MED-EL, Europe’s first study using a new kind of drug delivery cochlear implant (CI) electrode is being conducted at the Hannover Medical School (MHH) since June 2020. Under the direction of Prof. Prof. h.c. Dr. med. Thomas Lenarz, a leading expert in the field of cochlear implantation, six patients have received a MED-EL Synchrony cochlear implant featuring the newly developed Dexamethasone-eluting electrode (DEXEL), which releases Dexamethasone into the user’s cochlea in order to control the body´s reaction process in the inner ear following the implant surgery.

Pioneering work in the field of CI electrodes

Professor Lenarz, director of the ENT clinic at MHH, explains: “The aim of our research was to reduce cochlear inflammation along the entire scala tympani with the prolonged release of the glucocorticoid Dexamethasone, as well as controlling the localized reaction of the immune system to the implant. Dexamethasone should also help to ensure that the transfer of the audio signal between the electrode and acoustic nerve is as unimpeded as possible,”. A particular advantage: The release of the drug from the electrode array facilitates the highly targeted application of precise dosages. “The modified electrode thus lays the foundation for a new category of cochlear implants,” summarizes Professor Lenarz. 
The ENT clinic at MHH is internationally recognized for the world’s largest cochlear implant program – from the underlying idea to lifelong support for patients. The Dexamethasone-eluting electrode (DEXEL) has been undergoing clinical trials at MHH since June 2020 in association with MED-EL.

Technological innovation for the benefit of the users

Dr. Ingeborg Hochmair, founder and CEO of MED-EL, states: “As a global innovation leader in the field of implantable hearing solutions, we are committed to developing industry-leading products to continue to improve communication possibilities and quality of life for people with considerable hearing loss. Our research and development is based on decades of cooperation with clinics and university institutions around the world. We are extremely proud of many years of fruitful cooperation with Professor Lenarz and his team,”. “Our close cooperation with our independent partners makes it possible for us as industry pioneers to develop technologies that continue to set new benchmarks. Here, the safety and quality of our hearing solutions always take center stage in our research and development. For the benefit of the users,” emphasizes Dr. Hochmair.
The ongoing study aims to investigate the safety of the new DEXEL electrode, electrical impedance at the electrode contact, and post-operative hearing ability.

About MED-EL 

MED-EL Medical Electronics, a leader in implantable hearing solutions, is driven by a mission to overcome hearing loss as a barrier to communication. The Austrian-based, privately owned business was co-founded by industry pioneers Ingeborg and Erwin Hochmair, whose ground-breaking research led to the development of the world’s first micro-electronic multi-channel cochlear implant (CI), which was successfully implanted in 1977 and was the basis for what is known as the modern CI today. This laid the foundation for the successful growth of the company in 1990, when they hired their first employees. To date, MED-EL has grown to more than 2,200 employees from around 75 nations and has 30 locations worldwide.
The company offers the widest range of implantable and non-implantable solutions to treat all types of hearing loss, enabling people in 124 countries enjoy the gift of hearing with the help of a MED-EL device. MED-EL’s hearing solutions include cochlear and middle ear implant systems, a combined Electric Acoustic Stimulation hearing implant system, auditory brainstem implants as well as surgical and non-surgical bone conduction devices. www.medel.com 


Doz. DI Dr DDr med. h.c. Ingeborg Hochmair

Press contact

Thomas Herrmann 
MED-EL Medical Electronics 
Fürstenweg 77a 
6020 Innsbruck 
T: +43 5 7788-0 
E: press@medel.com 


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T: +43 5 7788-0
E: press@medel.com