Who Can Use an Implantable Hearing Aid or DeviceAt this time, implantable hearing aids are usable only by people with less than profound hearing losses. In addition, implantable hearing devices are an alternative to hearing aids for people who can not use a hearing aid.
Manufacturers of Implantable Hearing AidsThere are two types of "implantable" hearing aids available. One type is implanted through a surgical procedure, and the other type is implanted through non-surgical procedures.
Surgically Implanted Hearing Aids
Med-El, a cochlear implant manufacturer, also offers the Vibrant Soundbridge, an implantable device that is an alternative to a hearing aid. Another one is the Envoy Medical Corporation's implantable hearing aid, which received U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval in 2010.
Non-Surgical Implanted Hearing Aids
Another is the Retrox from Auric Hearing Systems, a hearing aid that is not really implanted but consists of a titanium tube that is inserted into the ear and the hearing aid portion is inserted into the tube. Another company, Insound Medical Inc., based in Newark, California, develops hearing aids that are implanted in the ear canal through non-surgical procedures. Insound's hearing aids are worn in the canal for a period of months and removed/replaced when the batteries wear out.
Auditory Brainstem Implants
People who have had part of the auditory nerves removed (such as people who have Neurofibromatosis Type II) can not benefit from either cochlear implants or hearing aids. This is where the auditory brainstem implant steps in. As the name implies, it is an implant directly in the brainstem. Cochlear Corporation has developed an auditory brainstem implant. Current research information on auditory brainstem implants can be found on the National Library of Medicine's PubMed database.