Implantable Magnets Restore Surround Sound Hearing for Malibu Resident

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House Clinic performs LA area’s first surgery, fitting of implantable hearing device

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Alpha 2

A Malibu man will become the first person in the Los Angeles area to once again hear in surround sound with a new implantable bone conduction hearing device. Surgeons at the House Clinic performed the first surgery at St. Vincent Medical Center.

“This new technology will help many patients hear better,” said William H. Slattery, III, M.D., neurotologist at the House Clinic. “Any patients with hearing loss in one ear should consider this type of technology to help them communicate more effectively.”

An audiologist from the House Clinic will fit Van Vibber, a 67-year-old marketing professional, with the Sophono Alpha 2 hearing device Jan. 15. Vibber has suffered from Meniere’s Disease for several years. As a result of the disease, the hearing in his right ear experienced profound loss.

Sophono, Inc., is a Colorado-based medical device manufacturer specializing in implantable, bone conduction hearing devices. The company’s FDA-cleared Sophono Alpha 2 is the only abutment-free, implantable, bone-anchored hearing device on the market, treating those with conductive hearing loss, mixed hearing loss – and single-sided deafness, as in Vibber’s case.

The Sophono Alpha system, which uses implantable magnets, will allow Vibber to wear a small device that will conduct sound to the patient’s ear with normal hearing. In late November, Slattery performed a procedure to prepare Vibber for the fitting of the Sophono Alpha 2. He placed two small magnets against the man’s skull, just beneath the skin. On Jan. 15, with the area healed, an audiologist at the House Clinic will place a third magnet against Vibber’s scalp, and fasten the Sophono Alpha 2 to the outer magnet. The magnets will send sound vibrations directly into Vibber’s hearing ear, and he will immediately begin to hear sound from all sides.

In addition to the improved hearing is the cosmetic element inherent in the Sophono Alpha system, explains Jim Kasic, president and CEO of Sophono. Other bone conduction devices involve drilling a hole in the patient’s skull and installing a very noticeable screw that pokes out through the skin on the side of the head. In contrast, Vibber’s device will be small and unobtrusive.

“The cosmetic element of a hearing device is very important,” says Kasic. “Eliminating self-consciousness about a hearing device positively influences self-confidence and the ability to socialize, and even plays a role in professional situations.”

House Clinic (http://www.houseearclinic.com)
The House Clinic is internationally recognized as one of the world’s foremost neurotology medical practices. Patients worldwide visit the House Clinic, seeking leading edge quality care for hearing loss, ear diseases and related medical concerns. For more information about the House Clinic, please visit http://www.houseearclinic.com/.

Sophono, Inc. (http://www.sophono.com)
Sophono, Inc., is a medical device manufacturer specializing in implantable, bone conduction hearing devices. The company’s products are designed for individuals suffering from severe to profound hearing loss or impairment. The Sophono Alpha System is the only abutment-free, implantable, bone-anchored hearing system available today. Treating those with conductive hearing loss, mixed hearing loss, and single-ear deafness, the FDA-cleared Alpha 2 device eliminates the problematic abutment of devices by using magnets to affix external sound processors.

Sophono corporate headquarters and manufacturing operations reside in Boulder, Colo. The company maintains an office in Germany, works with more than 20 distributors, and is actively selling in more than 30 countries.

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Aimee Bennett
Sophono
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