In March 2010, the FDA has approved Esteem, a fully implantable hearing aid with no visible external parts. This is the kind of hearing loss caused by genetic factors or by damage to the inner ear from noise, viral infections, or aging.
In a clinical trial, the device worked better than external hearing aids for 56% of patients, worked as well as an external hearing aid for 37%, and worked worse for 7%.
The most common side effects were caused by the surgery to implant the device in the inner ear. Over 40% of patients had a taste disturbance, nearly 20% had imbalance or dizziness, and 7% had facial paralysis. Most of these side effects got better within a year.
Key word: hearing aid implant