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Mary Beth

Future possibly of totally implanted cochlear implants

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What an interesting concept! I could see how the Rondo 2 could evolve into this as it already has wireless charging. There's a few cool benefits out of this form factor:

  • Extremely discreet since the battery button is the only external component and doesn't need to be on to run it, just to recharge it
  • No more retention straps/clips
  • WaterWear is not needed (assuming the recharging battery button module is not used while swimming and microphone is waterproof)

 

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@Watersail

yup and Rondo 2 is already a sealed unit.

I wonder how a mic will pick up great sound when it is under our skin?

How do you feel about having a battery in your head which will need to be replaced every x number of years?

 

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I was wondering about the mic too since it was not really specified on where it goes in the patent. It could be exposed in front of the ear (like AB's T-mic), ear drum, or elsewhere under the skin.

As for replacing the battery, it depends! I have so many questions.

  • How involved is the surgery and recovery process is to replace the battery?
  • Will they also update/upgrade the speech processor?
  • Will insurance cover the costs of the maintenance surgeries?
  • What happens to the skin/scars if multiple incisions are made to the same location over the years?
  • What happens if the battery is defective or damaged? Will it catch fire in the head?
  • What do you do when the unit feels unusually warm? With the Rondo or Sonnet, you can just take the processor off the head.

The idea is nifty and would be great to see to come to fruition.  I'm still way new to the whole CI (not yet activated), so I prefer to get my toes wet before jumping in the deep end of the pool.

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@Watersail

Great questions.  Totally implanted cochlear implants are most likely the future of CIs but they seem quite a ways off still.  You never know though.  They could arrive sooner than we think.

 

The Sonnet and Rondo processors should not become unusually warm while we wear them.  If they do, something is wrong and we should let our CI audiologist know right away.  

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I think this has been under the radar for some time now? 

Cochlear has been working on this https://www.cochlear.com/intl/about/media-centre/cochlear-announces-next-phase-in-development

No idea how it is going to work though.

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@Daniel the Stranger

I am sure you are correct and they have been working on a totally implanted cochlear implant for many years.  I came across the patent this weekend and thought it was quite interesting.  The microphone is what intrigues me the most.  How will a microphone implanted under our skin pick up all these awesome sounds without also picking up internal unwanted sounds?  Tech and engineering is quite fascinating.

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A few years ago I read about a totally implanted hearing aid, but it also requires periodic surgery to replace the batteries - and the cost was prohibitive compared to regular hearing aids.

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