Implantable middle ear hearing devices: Current state of technology and market challenges

Douglas D. Backous, William S. Duke

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


PURPOSE OF REVIEW: This review of implantable middle ear hearing devices is relevant to hearing professionals and otolaryngologists as an update of technological developments and the status of performance of current devices used in the United States. The 9th International Conference on Cochlear Implants and related Sciences was conducted 14-17 June in Vienna, Austria. Middle ear implantable devices were considered a 'hot topic', as two fully implantable devices are nearing European CE and FDA approval. RECENT FINDINGS: The main themes in this review focus on the fundamental technology applied to middle ear implantables, currently available devices, an overview of devices now off the US market and on challenges in improving performance and reliability. The necessary interplay with manufacturing devices which are more straightforward to surgically place and affordable enough to be accessed by the eligible population of people with hearing loss is discussed. SUMMARY: Indications for middle ear implantable hearing devices are expanding and the reliability of systems continues to improve. Solving problems related to affordability and access has made little progress in comparison, as evidenced by the poor performance of several 'technologically successful' manufacturers in the US market.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)314-318
Number of pages5
JournalCurrent Opinion in Otolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2006


  • Electromagnetic
  • Hearing
  • Implantable
  • Middle ear
  • Piezoelectric

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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