Bone Conduction Hearing in the Ear
Developing a novel implanted bone conduction hearing aid
Bone conduction is the transmission of acoustic vibrations from the skull to the cochlea. This approach to delivering sound bypasses the middle ear and can be an important technique for treating conductive hearing loss--hearing loss that affects the middle ear but not the cochlea.
We have developed a novel implanted bone conduction hearing aid that creates skull vibrations by bending the surface of the skull bone. This device, the Subcutaneous Piezoelectrically Actuated Hearing Aid (SPAHA) is currently undergoing pre-clinical trials and is slated for clinical trials in late 2015/early 2016.
Two photos of the SPAHA are shown below. On the left, the piezoelectric actuator can be see in the titanium housing. On the right, the titanium housing is welded shut, ready to be implanted in a patient.