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What’s in the future for cochlear implants?

October 28th, 2011 by | Tags: | 1 Comment »

Many people certainly wonder what kind of sound processors we could have in a few years down the road or whether or not any of the cochlear implant manufacturing companies are working on fully implantable devices.  Because most of us, cochlear implant recipients, will be hearing with cochlear implants for the rest of our lives, we certainly do want to know what’s in the future for us.  I visited the US Patent Office’s website and Free Patents Online and found many patents that have been filed by cochlear implant manufacturing companies and are worthwhile to share.  I should note that just because a patent has been filed, it does not mean that it will officially be out on the market.  Patents just simply mean ideas on paper.  Hundreds of patents could be filed by a company while only very few products could become a reality.  However, they can give us a general idea of what ideas companies are thinking about behind closed doors.

While there are hundreds of pages worth of patents, I am going to post only a few here from each of the manufacturing companies.  All of the patents can be found at US Patent Office’s website and Free Patents Online free of charge.

Advanced Bionics

A remote control for the sound processors

Click here for the full view of the patent.

One patent presents ideas on how to convert a behind-the-ear sound processor to a bodyworn processor.

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Click here for the full view of the patent.

A patent presents an accessory adapter to allow recipients to hear from the T-mic to external audio equipment.

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Click here for the full view of the patent.

This patent presents an implantable microphone that is possibly meant to go with a fully implantable device.

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Click here for the full view of the patent.

Cochlear

One patent presents a behind the ear sound processor that can be converted to a bodyworn processor with microphones built in the coil.

 

Screen Shot 2013-09-14 at 6.15.15 PM Screen Shot 2013-09-14 at 6.15.22 PM

Click here for the full view of the patent.

This is an interesting design of a behind-the-ear sound processor.  It appears that recipients can convert it to bodyworn and also perhaps set the microphone to be placed by the ear canal?

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Click here to view the full patent.

This appears to be a miniaturization of a sound processor.

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Click here for the full view of the patent.

A Totally Implantable Hearing System – A cochlear implant that allows recipients to hear without any external sound processors.

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Click here for the full view of the patent.

MED-EL

A totally implantable device - A cochlear implant that allows recipients to hear without any external sound processors.

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Click here for the full view of the patent.

Tinnitus Suppresser – A cochlear implant device that suppresses tinnitus.

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Click here for the full view of the patent.

One patent depicts a magnet system that appears to allow recipients to wear the external device in MRI scans.

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Click here for the full view of the patent.

This patent is a bit confusing, but it appears to be an external sound processor that is fully built into the coil or perhaps a coil that is used for recharging the battery in the fully implantable device?

Screen Shot 2013-09-14 at 6.23.46 PM

Click here for the full view of the patent.

1 Comment

a-jay

November 23, 2011 at 5:46 pm

It seems to me like the last patent is about integrating the batteries into the coil in stead of the BTE unit…