Hearing Aid Basics

Posted by Ashley Derrington on February 13, 2019

What is a hearing aid?

A hearing aid is a small externally-worn device used to collect sounds with microphones and make those sounds louder through a small speaker in the ear canal. One way to think of it is that is like a tiny megaphone for your ear! Typically, they are best suited for people with mild, moderate or severe sensorineural hearing loss, but they are often used outside of those parameters. Some people do better with hearing aids than others.  

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Topics: hearing loss, hearing aids, Ashley

It's about more than just hearing.

Posted by Ashley Derrington on February 7, 2019

Getting the Esteem® is not an easy decision, and it’s not one to take likely, but if an audiologist says, “well, you could do just as well with hearing aid,” that is completely missing the point. Sure, on the surface hearing aids and Esteem® do the same thing – they help you hear better. They certainly do, but Esteem® offers you so much more than just better hearing.

It’s about waking up each day and, for a brief moment, forgetting I am hard of hearing because I can leave my Esteem® on throughout the night (heaven forbid a fire alarm goes off, I can hear it!). I don’t have to find my hearing aids, check for batteries, put them in, or anything like that. I wake up and I’m hearing at my best.

I don’t have that immediate reminder first thing in the morning telling me that I’m different from everyone else like I do when I have to put my hearing aids on.

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Topics: hear everyday, all-day, live well with hearing loss, recipients, testimonial, Esteem

Battery Replacement for the New Year - A personal Story

Posted by Amy Pajula on January 8, 2019

 As a bilateral Esteem® patient, I have experienced hassle-free hearing for almost 9 years. It has been an amazing journey and one that I would never change. Not for anything. I jump in lakes, go water-skiing, and hop on a paddle board when I feel like it. I throw my hair back in a ponytail when I go to the gym, and don’t worry about sweat. I pull my winter hat over my ears when I go outside without feedback or worrying about static electricity damaging something. I don’t have to clean earwax or worry about humidity, and I no longer live in fear of losing a hearing aid (which I did right before getting my first Esteem®). In addition, I can use earbuds just like everyone else and easily talk on the phone. I have as much freedom and access to my hearing as someone who hears well without an aid.

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Topics: Esteem, hearing loss, live well with hearing loss, Amy, hear everyday, all-day, testimonial

Common Misconceptions and Concerns with the Esteem® Active Middle Ear Implant.

Posted by Amy Pajula on December 12, 2018

As a proud member of the hearing loss community, a hearing aid user for nearly three decades, and a happy bilateral Esteem® recipient, I am intimately familiar with the journey a person takes as they explore their hearing loss and the options available to them. I know the desire to find a better solution, one that works better for you and doesn’t seem to get in the way as much as it helps.  

After I became an Esteem® recipient, I became an Esteem® Counselor with Envoy Medical. I have worked with hundreds of other Esteem® recipients, and have probably talked to thousands of people with hearing loss looking for something more than a hearing aid.

Until recently, hearing aids were really the only treatment option for people diagnosed with sensorineural hearing loss. Over the last few decades, more technologies have come along for different types and levels of hearing loss. 

Active Middle Ear Implants are one of those relatively newer solutions for people with a certain level of sensorineural hearing loss. The Esteem® is the only fully implanted active middle ear implant FDA approved and commercially available in the United States.

The following are some common questions or concerns that I hear from people on looking into the Esteem® in the midst of their hearing loss journey.

Why not just get another hearing aid?

First, the Esteem® is only for those people who have tried a well-fit hearing aid for at least 30 days. If a hearing aid works for you, great! The Esteem® is something more and is geared towards people who have tried hearing aids and don’t get what they want out of them. They need something more.

Second, if you have tried hearing aids and are not satisfied, it is important to understand why. 

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Topics: Esteem, hearing loss, live well with hearing loss, Amy

When Hearing Aids Are Not Cutting It, Active Middle Ear Implants Might Do.

Posted by Ashley Derrington on December 4, 2018

You may not know they exist or what they are, but active middle ear implants – or AMEIs as they are sometimes referred to – have created new treatment options for some people with hearing loss. An AMEI refers to a surgically implanted hearing device that directly interacts with a part of the middle ear – one or more of the tiny middle ear bones (i.e., middle ear ossicles) – and is “active” in that it is imparting its own energy on the middle ear rather than just being a passive prosthetic. Active middle ear implants (AMEIs) can be either fully implanted with nothing external or semi-implanted with an external portion and an internal portion.

Some argue that part of the clinical value AMEIs offer is derived from “provid[ing] direct drive hearing in which sound is converted directly to vibratory energy and transmitted to the ossicles. …Converting sound directly to energy is more efficient and ultimately may provide improved speech discrimination and preferred sound quality compared to [conventional hearing aids].” [i] 

How do they work?

Active middle ear implants work differently depending on the device, but they all directly drive the middle ear with mechanical energy as opposed to just making sounds louder, like the conventional hearing aids. The direct interaction with the middle ear can help overcome some of the limitations of conventional hearing aids.

Who’s a candidate?

AMEI’s are designed to alleviate a certain type and level of hearing loss.

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Topics: untreated or under-treated, hear everyday, all-day, Safety, live well with hearing loss, hearing loss

Hearing the Sights and Sounds of Life

Posted by Envoy Medical Staff Member on November 27, 2018

 

Before Jill McAlister and Marcie Pratt went skydiving together, they had never met. But, the two shared more in common than they would have believed. They both have congenital hearing loss, with late diagnosis due to several years of misdiagnosis as young children; they are both Esteem recipients; and now, they’ve jumped out of an airplane together.

Jill and Marcie met on a trip to San Diego to give a presentation to an advisory panel of otologists about their success with their Esteems. At the meeting, both women got to reconnect with the surgeons who performed their implant surgeries, Dr. Jack Shohet and Dr. Michael Seidman, in a heart-warming reunion. Jill and Marcie also took questions from the audience – a feat that would have been impossible for both women just a few years ago.

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Topics: Esteem, hearing loss, recipients, skydiving, testimonial, live well with hearing loss

What to expect. A surgeon's perspective.

Posted by Envoy Medical Staff Member on November 23, 2018

Can you imagine having your cake and eating it too? That might be what you can expect with the Esteem® hearing implant. The Esteem® is a hearing solution that alleviates your hearing loss, but without the external device and without the hassles or frustrations of hearing aids – an all day, everyday hearing solution that works with you and your lifestyle.

If you’re curious about what to expect from the Esteem® procedure, you’re in luck. Here to share insight into the procedure is Dr. Jack Shohet, a neurotologist who has completed over 300 Esteem® cases, more than any other active surgeon in the U.S.

1.     What is the Esteem implant procedure like?

Surprising to some, the Esteem® implant procedure is actually an

 outpatient procedure, meaning patients come in and out of the office on the same day. The whole process takes only several hours - patients are administered general anesthesia, we place the implant components and then patients are free to go.

2.     Can you describe the average recovery process?

After the initial procedure, patients 

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Topics: hear everyday, all-day, live well with hearing loss, testimonial, recipients, Esteem, Safety

Taking Charge of Hearing Loss: Be Your Own Hearing Advocate!

Posted by Envoy Medical Staff Member on November 20, 2018

Senior couple in a foreign city using a road map. Mature couple on a vacation using map for directions.

Hearing loss often creeps up on us slowly over time. We start by turning the volume up on the TV, the phone and the radio. Over time it can progress to a point of frustration, as “What?” becomes a more constant word in our vocabulary. Before long, it can start to have a negative impact on our relationships and how we function.

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Topics: live well with hearing loss, hearing loss, Esteem, hear everyday, all-day

What I Wish The Skeptics Knew

Posted by Ashley Derrington on November 16, 2018

When people find out I have the Esteem, their reaction is usually one of two things: amazement and a desire to learn more or skepticism and no aspiration to understand more about my choice in hearing restoration.

I know many people are skeptical about Esteem. Heck, I used to be one of those people! It is new and different. Change is hard to accept sometimes. It was not an easy road to implantation and acceptance of the Esteem, but now that I have it I can’t imagine my life without it. I wish skeptics could see a video montage of my life before and after Esteem. I think you’d see that my overall quality of life has improved significantly, and I’m better off as a result.

I spoke with a friend recently about the benefits of having my Esteem. She mentioned that my descriptions reminded her a lot of her experience with Lasik eye surgery. Great results with the benefit of convenience and being hassle-free. Maybe that’s an image more can understand. I must add, though, that the concepts of convenience and hassle-free only touch the surface of what needs to be known about this life-changing device.

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Topics: testimonial, live well with hearing loss, Esteem, hearing loss, recipients, hear everyday, all-day

What are the clinical trial results for the Esteem?

Posted by Envoy Medical Staff Member on November 9, 2018

Closeup of examining ear with an otoscope

What are the clinical trial results for the Esteem?

In order to gain license from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to commercially market and sell the Esteem, Envoy Medical had to go through what is called the "premarket approval" process. The premarket approval requirements are stringent, resource intensive, and highly regulated. It is incredibly difficult to get a new medical device approved through the FDA's premarket approval process (especially a medical device that is a first-of-its-kind), but, at the end of the day, consumers can rest assured that once the product's PMA application has been approved the product has met the FDA's high standards of safety and effectiveness.

One of the biggest requirements of a premarket approval application, is a closely monitored clinical trial. Envoy Medical designed the Esteem's clinical trial in close collaboration with the FDA. The overall goal of the trial was to demonstrate both the safety and the effective benefit of the Esteem to those with sensorineural hearing loss. In total, 57 patients were implanted, and then closely monitored. The data reviewed by the FDA and its panel of experts in order to grant Esteem premarket approval were data collected through 10 months on all 57 implanted patients. In addition, the patients were followed for another 5 years to demonstrate long-term safety and effectiveness.

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Topics: clinical results, Esteem, hearing loss

Hearing loss is a lifelong journey that can be an emotional roller-coaster. It can be daunting, frustrating, and isolating. It is important to know, however, that you are not alone. You are one of tens of millions of people live with some type and level of hearing loss. There is a broad community of people who understand what you are going through. 
 
That being said, your journey is unique, and how you approach your hearing loss is up to you. Hopefully, with the support and guidance of family, friends, and, of course, hearing healthcare professionals.  
 
The Sounding Board blog is designed to provide some insight on everything from general hearing loss topics to the specific experiences of individuals willing to share some stories from their personal journey.
 
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