Vienna, 13 March 2008 – A 51-year-old woman from Vienna has become the first person in Austria to receive a fully implantable hearing device. During a three-hour operation today, Dr. Wolf-Dieter Baumgartner of the University Ear, Nose and Throat Clinic at the Vienna General Hospital, successfully implanted the world’s only fully implantable system from the US company Otologics into the patient.
The procedure involves completely implanting the active middle-ear implant, the microphone and the rechargeable battery into the middle ear and skull so that all parts are inside the body and therefore completely invisible. The system is programmed transcutaneously through the intact skin. Patients can control and adjust the device by remote control.
The fully implantable hearing device consists of the actual active implant, the microphone (placed under the skin behind the ear), the electronics and the rechargeable battery. The battery is designed to last for 10-15 years.
The system, which costs EUR 14,000, is indicated for people with special hearing problems and/or previously otherwise inoperable middle ear pathologies, for instance, for patients who cannot wear conventional hearing aids for medical reasons or for whom conventional hearing aid fittings are insufficient.