MIT news is reporting that they are actively working on a new form of cochlear implant that eliminates the need for an external speech processor. From our understanding, the main issue that was holding back the development of an “all-internal” speech processor was battery life. There simply is no current battery that is powerful enough to last without a charge at that size. However, this breakthrough method uses the natural microphone of the middle ear – eliminating the need for an electrically powered microphone, which reduces greatly the need for battery power. Read more in the article below. If this is successful, it presents a great milestone in the development of technology for the hearing impaired.
Cochlear implant accessories and parts can be so expensive. If you are like many of us that insurance doesn’t cover the cost of replacement parts, you can easily spend upwards of $1,000 a year to cover the cost of parts for the implants.
Take for example, the headset coil cable for the Nucleus Freedom implant. The price for just one piece is $290. This coil cable breaks frequently, and must be replaced.
Add that to the cost of batteries ($195 for each rechargeable battery), magnets ($36), microphone covers ($42). Cochlear implants are a wonderful invention, but they do cost plenty.
Advanced Bionics President & CEO Mr. Jeff Greiner will be holding an online chat tonight (Sept. 8th) at 8 PM ET. The topic of the chat is officially about AB’s commitment to support every generation of AB recipient. Most likely the interesting part of the discussion will be the Q & A following the event.
We have seen a tremendous surge in the amount of young children receiving cochlear implants over the past two years. This is due to early infant screenings, and insurance companies becoming more agreeable to the reimbursement of cochlear implantation of younger children.
We’ll have someone on the chat, and try to get some of our questions answered. Some of the topics we’d be interested in are:
- How far away are we from the “internal speech processor”?
- AB’s response to Cochlear Corporation’s Freedom processor.
- Battery life in the body worn processors.
- Bilateral cochlear implants – Is this still a novelty or is it becoming standard practice?
- What does the insurance reimbursement front look like – both with regards to the actual surgery as well as the follow up care such as audiological and speech/language sessions and evaluations?
We look forward to posting our recap of the chat here.
CLICK HERE for the link to the online chat.
Esteemed Product Engineer:
The following letter has been written by my 7-year old daughter, who is a user of your products.
Why did you make the shoe and the wire for the FM system that attaches to my Freedom the color gray? Does that make any sense? If it is for white people, then it should be beige. And if it is for black people, then it should be brown. But there are no gray people! Please write me back with an answer. Gray is such a silly color that looks so funny on me.
P.S. I hope you change it soon.
While we were at the University, our daughter spent most of her time taking part in the testing. We arrived early Tuesday afternoon and spent two hours testing. After we finished, our daughter sampled the amenities of the hotel. Here are some quick scenes to enjoy:
Exercising at the Best Western – Madison, WI
Swimming at the Best Western – Madison, WI
In the second video, she is not wearing her implants, so she can’t hear me.
More to follow…
As we told you previously, our daughter took part in a study to assess the positive effects of bilateral cochlear implants at the Speech and Hearing Lab of the University of Wisconsin at Madison.
Here is a photo of our daugher looking on as she is placed in the booth with a semi-circle array of speakers. She was instructed to try and detect where the sound is originating from by using a computer mouse to click on the speaker that she believes the sound originates from.
This is to try and gauge the benefits of sound localization that are being realized from having bilateral implants.
We will give more details of her trip in future posts.
As our daughter has passed the second anniversary of her bilateral implant activation, we are choosing to have her participate in a federally funded research that is conducted by Professor Ruth Litovsky at the Waisman Center of the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Our daughter, who is 6 years old and has been profoundly deaf since birth, will be tested thoroughly in order to gain more insight into the benefits of bilateral implantation vs. single ear implants.
She is scheduled to travel to Madison next week – we will keep you posted on the details of the trip and the tests.