Maxum Middle Ear Implant
What is the Maxum Middle Ear Implant?
The Maxum Middle Ear Implant (Figure 1) is a unique implantable device that helps people with severe hearing loss on both sides hear once agai
Figure 1: Maxum Middle Ear Implant cross section view in the middle ear. Courtesy of Ototronix
Figure 2: Normal hearing mechanism
How the Device Works
This device stimulates the inner ear directly using the patient’s own hearing bones (ossicles). Unlike a hearing aid, this system uses magnetic power to move the hearing bones to allow for improved hearing function. In contrast, a hearing aid uses sound signals to move the eardrum, so it is prone to feedback, which is the squealing sound that hearing aids may make that interferes with hearing function. The Maxum device will never squeal like a hearing aid. Since there is no feedback issue, the Maxum device can deliver a much louder sound to the inner ear than a hearing aid, so the Maxum can help a lot of patients who are having trouble hearing with hearing aids hear significantly better and clearer (Video 1)
Video 1 How the device works (For Closed Captioning watch video in full screen view)
The Maxum device consists of a magnet that is implanted surgically (Figure 1) . The external portion of the Maxum system is an in the ear canal processor that takes the sound coming into the ear and then moves the middle ear magnet to allow the patient to hear (Figure 3).
Figure 3 Cross section of the Maxum implant and processor. Courtesy of Ototronix
Who May Benefit from the Maxum Middle Ear Implant?
Hearing loss can be caused by many different problems. A conduction problem occurs if the sound pathway in the ear canal, eardrum, or middle ear is disrupted. These conditions are usually correctable with office procedures or surgery. Hearing aids can be used in these cases as well. A sensorineural hearing loss occurs when the inner ear or hearing nerve is damaged or becomes dysfunctional. Common causes of this type of hearing loss include age-related hearing loss (presbycusis), noise-induced hearing loss, hearing loss due to trauma or inherited disorders, and many others. These types of hearing loss in general cannot be corrected surgically, but hearing aids are a good option in many cases. There are some patients with hearing loss so severe on both sides that hearing aids are not useful. These patients can potentially be helped with the Maxum Middle Ear Implant.
Adults – The candidacy for the Maxum Middle Ear Implant is based on lack of adequate benefit from hearing aids and certain hearing criteria that are measured with standard hearing tests. The patient will need to be medically fit to undergo a 45 minute outpatient surgery.
What is the Evaluation Process?
Patients with hearing loss undergo a full ear nose & throat evaluation in addition to testing such as audiogram. Based on the medical evaluation, the treatment options for the hearing loss will be presented to you. Those who are possible candidates for the Maxum Middle Ear Implant have used hearing aids but are still having significant difficulty hearing.
The Surgical Process:
What To Expect During the Surgery
The procedure is an outpatient surgery that takes about 45 minutes. It is performed under local or general anesthesia. The surgery is performed through the ear canal. The surgery consists of placing the Maxum Middle Ear magnet onto the hearing bones (Figure 4).
Figure 4 Maxum Middle Ear magnet in place (right ear)
After Surgery Care
Antibiotic ear drops are used in the ear after surgery. Regular activities are started the same day. Patients are typically seen 4 weeks after surgery to ensure proper healing and a hearing test is performed. The device may be turned on at this once the ear has healed.
How Long Does the Surgical Correction Last?
The hearing implant typically lasts for the life of the patient. The external processor may require replacement periodically just like a hearing aid.