Dr. Cliff Olson, Audiologist and Founder of Applied Hearing Solutions in Anthem Arizona, discusses the newest bone conduction hearing aid on the market, the Med-EL ADHEAR.
My Clinic Website: http://www.AppliedHearingAZ.com
Med-EL is typically known for their Cochlear Implants and Middle Ear Implants. However, they just received thier FDA 510 (k) clearance which basically means it can be sold in the United States. Previously, the device was only available outside the US.
The Med-EL ADHEAR Bone Conduction Hearing Aid System, works by adhering an abutment pad behind the ear on the hairless mastoid bone. Then, you attach the Sound Processor which provides bone conducted sound through the skull, into the Cochlea (hearing organ).
This vibration can bypass the traditional route of sound from the Outer ear, through the Middle ear, to the inner ear (cochlea). This allows someone with a Conductive Hearing Loss, or Single Sided Deafness, to bypass the hearing loss and stimulate the Cochlea with sound.
The ADHEAR has:
1. Adhesive Pad – This pad is very hypo-allergenic and stays in place for a week. Med-EL only claims 3-5 days, but I wore the pad for 7 days without issues.
2. Sound Processor – The processor is lightweight and comes in 3 different colors. It can work behind either ear seamlessly and snaps onto the Adhesive Pad. It uses a size 13 hearing aid battery, and has on-board controls for program and volume changes. It also is FM compatible and can be connected with other electronic devices with a cable.
Med-EL indicated that in clinical trials, they achieved similar results to a softband method of wearing a Bone Conduction Hearing Aid. The also indicated increased comfort of wearing the ADHEAR vs. a headband which led to higher satisfaction rates.
Unfortunately, the ADHEAR only works for bone conduction thresholds that are better than 25 dB between 500 Hz and 4 kHz. The processor may get in the way of glasses, and it isn’t Bluetooth compatible.