MED-EL initiates clinical studies for world’s first Laryngeal Pacemaker

Oct 19, 2023

October 19, 2023 – (Innsbruck, Austria):  MED-EL, a global leader in implantable hearing solutions, announces the start of ground-breaking clinical trials for the Laryngeal Pacemaker. The first medical device of its kind, it is a major advancement in the treatment of people with paralyzed vocal cords who face daily challenges with simple tasks like speaking and physical activities due to breathing difficulties. 

  • Clinical studies with six participating hospitals in Austria and Germany 
  • Laryngeal Pacemaker alleviates respiratory distress and improves quality of life
  • Remobilizes paralyzed vocal cords for breathing
  • Eliminates the necessity for permanent surgery on the vocal cord
  • Seemingly aligns with MED-EL’s mission to restore the loss of senses and other body functions through implantable, individualized solutions to improve quality of life and possibilities

In a world where communication is crucial, the introduction of this new technology will offer renewed hope for an improved quality of life for people across the globe. Furthermore, the start of these extensive clinical studies represents a significant milestone in the cooperation of MED-EL and its clinical partners. “The development of the world's first Laryngeal Pacemaker is a testament to our commitment to improving people's lives through medical innovation.” says Dr Ingeborg Hochmair, CEO of MED-EL. “Importantly we recognise that advancing medical technology is never a solo journey and is instead underpinned by important collaborations with our trusted partners across the globe.  In this case, the hospitals involved in this ground-breaking study are fundamental to ensuring that our products truly make a positive impact on individuals who need them the most.”

Major medical innovation 

The Laryngeal Pacemaker has been specifically designed to alleviate the challenges of individuals living with respiratory and speaking difficulties stemming from paralyzed vocal cords. This debilitating condition hinders the natural opening of vocal cords during inhalation, making the act of breathing difficult. Presently, when symptoms worsen enough to severely affect a person’s normal life quality, the solution is always a permanent surgery: tracheostomy may be the only possibility in worst cases of respiratory problems, while vocal cord (or vocal fold) surgery is the most common alternative. Both these interventions succeed in restoring breathing functionality, but this result is normally achieved at the expenses of quality-of-life and voice.  The Laryngeal Pacemaker offers a new innovative solution and approach to address vocal cord paralysis by stimulating the vocal cords to open, without such compromises.

Key features of the Laryngeal Pacemaker being assessed in the current studies: 

  • Preserves the vocal cord structure: the Laryngeal Pacemaker implantation is minimally invasive and does not require functional parts of the vocal cords to be removed; this means that a person’s voice before surgery and their ability to swallow are not affected. 
  • Enhanced breathing function: The Laryngeal Pacemaker aims to significantly improve breathing quality, promoting a more comfortable and unrestricted intake of air. People could enjoy a fuller breath of air, enhancing their overall well-being.
  • Improved quality of life: Beyond its technical prowess, the Laryngeal Pacemaker empowers individuals to be able to reengage in social activities, pursue careers, and enjoy everyday tasks with confidence. 

Upon the successful completion of these clinical trials and the attainment of necessary market approvals, the Laryngeal Pacemaker will be poised for commercial release. 


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 and quality of life. 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 more than 2,600 employees from around 80 nations and 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 over 140 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.


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

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