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Cochlear implant - state of the art.


ABSTRACT: Cochlear implants are the treatment of choice for auditory rehabilitation of patients with sensory deafness. They restore the missing function of inner hair cells by transforming the acoustic signal into electrical stimuli for activation of auditory nerve fibers. Due to the very fast technology development, cochlear implants provide open-set speech understanding in the majority of patients including the use of the telephone. Children can achieve a near to normal speech and language development provided their deafness is detected early after onset and implantation is performed quickly thereafter. The diagnostic procedure as well as the surgical technique have been standardized and can be adapted to the individual anatomical and physiological needs both in children and adults. Special cases such as cochlear obliteration might require special measures and re-implantation, which can be done in most cases in a straight forward way. Technology upgrades count for better performance. Future developments will focus on better electrode-nerve interfaces by improving electrode technology. An increased number of electrical contacts as well as the biological treatment with regeneration of the dendrites growing onto the electrode will increase the number of electrical channels. This will give room for improved speech coding strategies in order to create the bionic ear, i.e. to restore the process of natural hearing by means of technology. The robot-assisted surgery will allow for high precision surgery and reliable hearing preservation. Biological therapies will support the bionic ear. Methods are bio-hybrid electrodes, which are coded by stem cells transplanted into the inner ear to enhance auto-production of neurotrophins. Local drug delivery will focus on suppression of trauma reaction and local regeneration. Gene therapy by nanoparticles will hopefully lead to the preservation of residual hearing in patients being affected by genetic hearing loss. Overall the cochlear implant is a very powerful tool to rehabilitate patients with sensory deafness. More than 1 million of candidates in Germany today could benefit from this high technology auditory implant. Only 50,000 are implanted so far. In the future, the procedure can be done under local anesthesia, will be minimally invasive and straight forward. Hearing preservation will be routine.

SUBMITTER: Lenarz T 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC5818683 | BioStudies | 2017-01-01

SECONDARY ACCESSION(S): 10.3205/12dgpp02

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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