Diagnosed with hearing loss years ago, a senior UAE resident from Saudi Arabia made a decision to undergo a middle ear implant surgery to overcome his hearing loss, becoming the first patient to undergo the VSB implant surgery in the region.
The surgery was performed on Saturday by Dr. Georg Sprinzl, a consulting Ear, Nose and Throat surgeon at the hearLIFE Clinic based in Dubai Healthcare City and conducted at the Mediclinic City Hospital.
“The technology within the Vibrant Soundbridge is leaps ahead of what current hearing aids offer patients. We receive many patients that are dissatisfied with their hearing aids for various reasons and the technology behind Vibrant Soundbridge removes all of these undesirable effects,” said Dr. Bassel Chaykhouny, the Medical Director at hearLIFE Clinic.
“As the first medical establishment in the UAE to bring the Vibrant Soundbridge to the region, we are going to dramatically change how patients and their families perceive the treatment of hearing loss. We will offer them a positive outlook on how today’s hearing implant technology can change their lives greatly for the better,” he said.
The VSB is a middle ear implant and it is used to treat people with mild to severe sensorineural hearing loss as well as conductive and mixed hearing losses. A middle ear implant converts sound into mechanical vibrations, which are used to directly stimulate the middle ear structures. These vibrations then conduct sound to the inner ear where they are passed on to the brain and are perceived as sound. Middle ear implant systems are an implantable alternative to conventional hearing aids. MED-EL’s VSB is the most successful active middle ear implant system and consists of two major components: The externally worn audio processor, the Amadé, and the implant. The system offers outstanding sound quality and the external part can be worn comfortably underneath the hair, and it is also suitable for children over three years.
Dr. Sprinzl added: “The VSB surgery usually takes up to two hours and consists of implanting the internal parts of the VSB under the skin in the area behind the ear. The Vibrant Soundbridge is designed not to interfere with the natural ability of the hearing structures in any way because it is meant to preserve any residual hearing. This works through the main part of the implant known as the Floating Mass Transducer, which during the surgery is attached to the vibratory structure of the middle ear thus preserving any minimal hearing the patient may have.”
Approximately one month post-surgery and recovery, the patient is fitted with the external portion of the implant, the audio processor, and the system can be activated. Activation involves switching on the audio processor to transmit sound wirelessly trough the skin to the implant. Since the audio processor of the Vibrant Soundbridge is externally located, the user can always benefit from the latest technology with a simple equipment upgrade.
David Raetz, CEO MED-EL Middle East said: “The history of the VSB is very personal to MED-EL because it was developed by our own Chief Technology Officer, Geoffrey Ball, who created it to treat his own deafness. The VSB was developed above all with the patient and their requirements in mind as the lead for this innovative technology. The VSB offers high quality speech and sound, allows for the ear canal to be open to eliminate whistling or interference as hearing aids might do, and can be adjusted as per the patient’s requirements.”
The VSB has proven to be an effective and reliable middle ear implant system for over a decade. Results from a large study which analysed the long-term performance of users of the VSB proves that the system offers good, stable speech comprehension over time. It is also very comfortable to wear and non-invasive in daily life.
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