Otologics introduces fully implantable hearing system

otologicsOtologics has announced the introduction of Carina, a fully implantable hearing system that picks up sounds using a microphone implanted under the skin that the company says  transmits amplified signals directly into the middle ear.

Sounds are amplified according to the wearer’s needs and converted into an electrical signal. The signal is sent down the lead and into the transducer. The tip of the Carina transducer is in contact with the middle ear anatomy. The transducer translates the electrical signals into a mechanical motion that directly stimulates the middle ear and enables the wearer to perceive sound.

The implant component consists of three primary parts: a capsule that houses the electronics, a microphone system, and the middle ear transducer. It consists of four primary components: the implant, the programming system, the charger, and the remote control.

The  implant is programmed according to the wearer’s specific amplification needs. The programming system consists of: fitting and diagnostic software, a radio-frequency coil that communicates to the implant, and a NOAH link wireless programming interface. Using OtoFit fitting software, the NOAHlink interface receives signals from the computer through the wireless connection and sends the signals to the implant via the radio frequency coil. Programming the implant is done in the same manner as programming traditional digital hearing aids. The system provides for extensive testing and diagnostics of the device.

The charger system consists of the base station, charging coil, and charger body. To charge the implant, the wearer removes the charger body from the base station and places the coil on the skin, over the implant site. The charger body contains a clip that allows the charger to be attached to the belt of the wearer during charging. Typically, charging time will be about 1 hour and must be performed daily. While recharging the implant, the wearer can perform normal daily activities, turn the implant on and off, and adjust the volume.

A remote is used for controlling the device when it is not being charged. The remote allows the wearer to turn the implant on and off, and to adjust the volume. To use the remote control, the wearer holds the remote against the skin over the implant. The device can be used in all normal environments and activities: while showering, swimming, and playing sports.

They have a video (without captions) showing how it works here. And a FAQ section here.