When you think of hearing aids, you get the image of a contraption wrapped around someone’s ear. That’s the same image everyone gets. It’s also the reason people who suffer from hearing loss avoid getting the devices. They feel like it is some form of universal signifier that they are officially getting old. However, what if you could surgically have a hearing implant placed into your ear?

Esteem: A New Hearing Implant

“Esteem,” a new implantable hearing device, has been created by Envoy Medical Corporation.  The new hearing implant was developed for patients with moderate-to-severe nerve-related hearing impairment. The company’s primary goal is to allow patients to hear again with 100 percent clarity, and return to a normal quality of life.

The University of Missouri’s Ear, Nose and Throat Center recently started offering the hearing implant to patients. In fact, they are the only health provider in the state to do so.

In order for the implant to be placed into a patient’s ear, they need to have a mastoid and middle-ear cavity, which most people have. However, patients’ ears are thoroughly reviewed through a CT scan before the device is implanted.

There are high expectations for the device. As the only doctor certified to provide the surgical procedure to patients in Missouri, Dr. Arnaldo Rivera states, “This device will allow the patient to do everyday activities such as showering and swimming that a typical hearing aid would need to be removed for.”

Returning people to fully enjoying everyday activities is a big part of Envoy Medical’s mission. Their hearing implants are waterproof, they filter wind naturally, and are designed for sleeping. It also features a battery that can last from four-and-a-half to nine years, depending on how it is used. These are features not normally found in other hearing devices.

For people interested in the Esteem hearing implant, it costs $33,000 for the device and procedure. Envoy Medical is making sure that hearing loss does not become a permanent disability.