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Wireless, fully implanted electrode, Wireless mics.


J. Scott Bradley
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Hi, I’m newly deaf of 3yrs and in the market for a CI, maybe two. I’m having a difficult time understanding the stagnate state of the industry. 

Why is Cochlear Implant electrode technology so shockingly out dated? It has not evolved accordingly with current micro electronic technology. This is a travesty.

Will somebody please tell me why we don’t have a CI that is fully implanted, with completely wireless microphones and driven by a sound processing iPnone app?

This system would be fully protected from the elements. Shower, swim, extreme cold/heat, no problem. Totally invisible, wear the wireless mic as a tie-clip, necklace, earring.

why is this type of system not available?

when will we see an improved electrode? One that embraces modern technology?

please help me to understand.

Thanks

JSB

 

 

 

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Hi J. Scott Bradley,

You may have misunderstood the purpose of this website. We provide support for persons who need help with various facets of adapting to a fairly new technology for persons with hearing loss.

You may need to address your questions to a hearing professional.

I wish you luck in finding help in understanding the state of current technology. 

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Mr. West,

Thank you for your reply.

I’m asking for support and help with facets of adapting to this technology.

My questions are very logical. A true answer would be very helpful in understanding. 

 

 

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Hi @J. Scott Bradley

I am a bilateral CI user and these CIs have changed my life!  I am so very thankful.

I do not understand the engineering behind how my CIs work but I love the hearing they have returned to my life, especially music.

Best decisions ever!

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Hi, Mary Beth,

I’m glad to hear you’ve had a positive experience with bilateral CI’s. That’s good to know. I, in the near future, hope to take advantage of this amazing technology in a bilateral capacity as well.

My concern is the CI industry’s inability to embrace modern technology. The implanted electrode of current CI systems is based on 1980’s “Sony Walkman” micro electronics.

With proper engineering and use of Wireless Bluetooth technology these devises could enhance your hearing to new, magical, levels, far beyond what is currently available and has the potential to be fully implanted and completely contained, no wires, no magnates, nothing needs to be attached to your head, much more user friendly and invisible.

Why won’t CI manufactures offer a device that is state of he art?

I urge all current and potential CI recipients ask these questions. 

This industry is telling its customers what they are going to get instead of asking what it’s customers want and demenstating what is possible.

Cart pulling the horse.

JSB

 

 

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Well if you don’t like the product don’t purchase. For most of us it’s the only option. Or to be completely deaf. Very personal choice. I. Too like Mary Beth has said, have benefited from the “existing technology”. 

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Hi @J. Scott Bradley there was a project at M.I.T. a couple of years to develop a fully implantable cochlear implant. Unfortunately it never made it to clinical trials.

https://www.masseyeandear.org/news/press-releases/2015/05/2015-future-directions-cochlear-implants

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Hey Harden,

I followed that project. Was happy to see someone trying. They had it right andwrong. MIT guy and gal wanted to fully Implant the mic, Wrong.

Mic should be Wireless, tiny, moveable, wearable in multiple locations, jewelry. Maybe you have two of these on your body strategically placed.

My main issue focuses on electrode technology. This part of the devise needs to be updated/modernized dramatically improved and above all wireless. There is no reason why it’s not. It could be made 100times better. no wires, no magnates, much smaller,  far less intrusive and traumatic surgery. 

All driven by a wireless sound processing/power system, iPhone like devise in your pocket or purse.

All the moving parts already have FDA approval. We’re just modernizing/updating an already approved devise.

I’m sorry for rambling, 

It’s just, I can’t find anyone who will answer my questions.

Why won’t the Big-3 CI manufactures embrace modern micro electronic technology and make a valid effort to dramatically improve its product?

All these companies claim they are spending millions improving there product. With the exception of a new smooth, bendable electrode array. I have not seen one significant improvement in more than two decades. Seriously? This  technology based industry has been shockingly stagnant for decades. Why?

 

 

 

 

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@J. Scott Bradley

 

Have you been following the research on optical cochlear implants?  It’s definitely still in early stages but it sounds promising.  Since we are delivering the signal to a salty fluid filled cochlea, optics may be able to deliver a more precise signal with less signal spreading.  Interesting concept.

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Good to hear from you Mary Beth,

I’ve read some articles and essays about optical contacts. Very promising in the far future. That will be an entirely new devise requiring tests, trials, approval, decades away.

I just want to improve an already mainstream device. So simple to dramatically improve. 

This is a Med-El sponsored forum. Right? Is there anyway to make contact with the company. They should be able to easily answer all my questions and/or set me straight, and tell me why the entire system, since 1980, has avoided modern technology. Or, they will simply “go dark” like Cochlear Limited and Advanced Bionics did when I asked them. 

Is there a forum for people who are just beginning their CI journey and shopping for a device. Where? What’s it called? Who sponsors it? 

Probably doesn’t exist. Why?

JSB

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Where can I go, as a potential Med-El customer, to ask questions and get straight answers? 

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@J. Scott Bradley

 

There are numerous FB groups and forums where candidates who are choosing their CI brands post questions, etc.  Many times people do that here on HPs too.

 

Some CI centers have meetings for groups of candidates to hear from various brand reps.  Some CI centers do this themselves on a 1:1 basis.

 

For direct contact with Med El, you may want to post your questions on their official FB page under visitor posts or email them directly at headquarters in Innsbruck.

 

There are conferences for implantable devices where researchers and engineers meet.  They may also have an online presence.

 

Electrode design, soft surgical techniques and software improvements have been the focus on many new changes to our CIs.

 

The Med El website has a bibliography list of sponsored research which is a great source of info as well on some of the things that are being tested.

 

Although I have only been implanted since 2015, I have worked with CIs for much longer as a Teacher of the Deaf.  The results we are getting with CIs have really advanced quickly.  I am sure there are many more advancements in store for us and future CI users.  It is an exciting field.

 

Good luck on your search.  I hope you find what you are looking for.

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Call or email Med El and ask to be put in touch with your regional COM (Community Outreach Manager).  

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Mary Beth,

Thank you for the link. Very interesting.

Check out liquid crystal polymer LCP. Using this polymer! they are developing new electrodes that fit over the retna and can stimulate sight. It’s a CI for the blind.

These electrode array is a thousand times more stimulating using a thousand times less power than what CI manufactures offer recipients.

Again, Why hasn’t the CI industry embraced modern technology. With the exception of make it it soft and flexible for deeper less traumatic insertion, they have not made one significant improvement to CI electrode array technology since 1980. We are all being short changed and taken advantage of by this industry. This has got to stop.

Current CI’s are the equivalent of “wooden pirate peg legs” compared to modern, truly advanced prosthetics that can enable an amputee the ability to win Olympic Gold

This is a sickening reality and we, the customer, need to tell the Big 3 CI manufactures to “get with it” and offer a new, modern electrode array that will revolutionize CI’s. The technology is available but the CI industry refuses to develope and use it. Why?

I’ll bet you, it’s all about money. The CI industry, more than any other  medical device industry is simply helping itself at the debilitating expense of its customers.

 

JSB

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We all dream that CI technology advances beyond our imagination. The topic, you raised is very interesting and can be discussed for days, but implementation of new ideas will take years. Besides the challenges that technical solutions pose, the compliance with safety regulations is extremely time-consuming process which can explain the delay in availability of more advanced products on the market.  I hope, we just don’t have information about new inventions all big CI manufacturers work on until development is completed and trademark registration filed.

I understand your interest in more advanced electrodes. There should be the decent reasons why electrodes of all brands are on the same level of technology that you consider outdated. But, nevertheless, can you agree that it works pretty well, especially MedEL flex?

I think, the electrode insertion is not the most traumatic event during CI surgeries. But anyway, it could be wonderful if it was just an injection that delivers a conductive material inside our cochlea (kind of chemical deposition with the consequential differentiation of frequencies processing guided by imaging technology).

Personally, I more fascinated with finding an “eternal” source of energy. I dream that someday our scientists will learn how to power our devices using the energy generated inside our mitochondrial network. The ideas about using something like piezoelectric effect does not seems too elegant ?

Definitely, it would be great to have just one-piece device with no need of electrodes to be physically connected to the implant. But I am for internally placed microphones. I hope MIT CI team will resume its work on one-piece implant with inside microphones. Sorry, but I see a lot of issues with your idea of “strategically” placed external microphones. And what do you think about the fact, that our science still has not clear answer how wireless connection can affect our brain (especially, its long-term effect)?

Also, when we wonder why CI technology is not so edge cutting as we would like it to be, we should consider that some technology shortcoming are related to some other serious limitations on the way to the perfect CI. Think about bio physiology (our body is quite aggressive environment in term of chemistry and some physics processes). surgical techniques and anatomy limitations, safety and legal aspects…. That’s good that CI industry works under the DO NO HARM principle of Hippocratic oath.

OK, I wish everybody, who contributes in CI development, to dream high and be very thoughtful and meticulous with implementation of that ideas for all our sake.

Why our reality is so complicated compare to our dreams ?

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Hi Cara Mia,

Thank you for taking the time to comment.

These questions and ideas are not “dreams” All of the technology needed to improve CI’s already exists. It’s all here, right in front of us and very real.

Ill try to make this simple, easy for you to understand.

The existing CI electrode technology already has FDA approval. It would be nothing more than a formality to apply wireless technology to an already approved medical devise. You’re not changing anything. Only, improving a severely outdated device.

With the advent of Bluetooth and the rapid development of personal smart phone’s they have been studying the effects of wireless technology on the human body and brain for over two decades. To this day, not one negative effect has been identified. In fact, your head is already swimming in this technology everyday.

You mentioned the internal microphone being developed at MIT. This is a horrible idea for many reasons. Why try to surgically cram more stuff into someone’s head. That idea is rediculous. It would create more surgical  trauma, higher risk of infection and dramatically decrease the performance of the mic it self. 

Again, there is no reason why the entire CI system has not imbraced wireless technology.

Fully implanted wireless electrode. Completely protected from all environmental elements. No wires, no magnates, much smaller internal processor needed. Far less invasive and traumatic surgery. So much less stuff needed to operate the system.

Wireless, micro, movable mics worn as jewelry. Invisible.

Wireless, sound processor, the size of an iPhone, equipped with a wireless power sores that drives the entire system from you pocket or purse.

Nothing about this concept is a dream. Nothing needs to go through trials or get FDA approval.

This is about a stagnant, one sided, industry, taking advantage of it’s customers. 

The cart is pulling the horse.

JSB

 

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Hi @J. Scott Bradley, thanks for sharing your thoughts with the HearPeers Community. I think this thread provides some interesting food for thought for others reading it. I will also forward your feedback and suggestions through to the right teams here at MED-EL.

The HearPeers Forum is here to be a helpful, friendly, and welcoming space for hearing implant recipients and people starting their hearing journey. Here you can find advice and tips from other users who share their personal experiences, and there are many threads where people share what they enjoy in life with improved hearing through an implant. If you have any questions relating to starting your hearing journey, such as questions to ask your surgeon or what are the best audio processor accessories, I'm sure the community will have lots of helpful advice to share with you!

Kind regards,

Leigh 

HearPeers Support Team

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Hi Liegh,

Everything you have mentioned in your post is exactly what I'm looking for and doing.

I'm just beginning my Cochlear Implant "JOURNEY", if that's what you want to call it. Is buying a new television also a journey? If so, than I'm going to buy the TV that is state-of-the-art, flat screen, digital, with remote controls. the one that outdoes the competition. Not the one stuck in the past that is black and white and still uses tube amps.

Current CI's are "Wooden Pirate Peg Legs" compared to modern prosthetics that allow amputees the ability to win Olympic Gold.

There are three CI manufactures to choose from. All of which offer the same shockingly crapy, poorly designed, debilitatingly outdated device. Where's the competition? Why do all the players in this industry offer the same thing? ancient clunky junk.

The first manufacture who actually listens to its potential customers and builds a truly modern device will dominate the industry. An invisible, fully implanted, wireless CI will increase the market size ten fold. Millions more people would be implanted. There are no technological or medical barriers in place to thwart this. Only a one-sided, stagnate, corporate controlled, industry that refuses to offer it's customers modern, state-of the-art options. 

I'm guessing, because you are an administrator, you have the ability to put me in touch with someone who can explain the state of this industry. Hey, maybe someone who might even set me straight and explain why my questions, ideas and concerns are invalid or unrealistic.

I'm a very successful and powerfully wealthy person. Now newly deaf and very motivated to help me and everyone one else hear better. Venture Capital is what I do. Tell Med-EL that I will personally organize $funding$ for the creation of a modern, state-of-the-art CI devise. I say this because it is so clearly needed, so easily accomplished, would eliminate all industry competition while increasing Med-El's sales by a staggering amount. We could make a fortune while improving the lives of countless hearing impaired individuals. Lets make a better product. Isn't that what CI manufactures should be doing? Why aren't they?

Here to help you help me and all the hearing impaired. 

It can be done so much better.

This entire industry needs a  thorough kick in the ass.

JSB

 

 

 

     

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 11/29/2017 at 8:30 AM, Kara of Canada said:

Hi Liegh,

What you have described in your post is exactly what I’m doing and looking for.

I’m beginning my CI “JOURNEY” if that’s what you want to call it. Is buying a television also a Journey? If so, than I’m going to buy a TV that embraces modern technology and is state-of-the-art. Not the one without color and still using tube amps. 

Current CI’s are “Wooden Pirate Peg Legs” compared to modern prosthetics that enable amputees the ability to win Olympic Gold. 

I’m a CI candidate in the market to purchase. I have the choice of three manufactures to choose. None of witch has made an effort to improve there product over their competitors. Why? The first of the Big 3 manufacture to step up and bring their product into the 21st. Century will dominate the industry and dramatically increase its market size by ten fold. Millions more people would by this product if it was wireless and invisible. This is a no-brainer.

CI’s are an amazing technology. But, they could easily be made 100 times better. There are no technological barriers in place to thwart this. Only an industry that chooses to offer its potential customers in inferior, severely outdated product.

And what ever happened to LCP electrodes.

https://www.sbir.gov/sbirsearch/detail/73868

 

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