Implantation of a middle ear implant such as the Vibrant Soundbridge can be indicated with certain types of hearing loss. The traditional indication features placement of a vibrating device (floating mass transducer) on the incus (anvil) hearing bone. With this indication, the oscillations of the hearing bones and thus the incoming sound signal is amplified. A hearing aid, on the other hand, also provides an amplified signal to the inner ear. Hence, a hearing aid and an active middle ear implant such as the Soundbridge provide similar sound amplification via different mechanisms.
Despite the similar nature of the amplified sound signal provided, The Vibrant Soundbridge has certain advantages over a conventional hearing aid. These include an unobstructed ear canal and a natural sounding signal of the amplified signal. Also, the externally worn processor can be easily hidden underneath the patient’s hair behind the ear. Thus, the auricle remains clear and free from any device.
More recently, this device has been utilized for other types of hearing loss. These include placement of the device onto the round window. Thus, certain types of conductive or mixed hearing loss can be overcome. However, these indications are currently under investigation by the FDA and clinical trials are ongoing.