Hugh Hetherington Hearing Aid Museum
Hugh Hetherington Hearing Aid Museum

The Hearing Aid Museum

Hearing Aids of all types—Ear Trumpets, Carbon Hearing Aids, Vacuum Tube Hearing Aids, Transistor Hearing Aids, Body Hearing Aids, Eyeglass Hearing Aids and much more!

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Click on the "General Information" button (top button above) for an overview and general information on this category of hearing aid.

 

Cochlear Implants—Med-El

Med-El Sonata Cochlear Implant (demo)

The Med-El Sonata cochlear implant  was made by Med-El GMBH of Innsbruck, Austria in 2006.

This cochlear implant module worked with the Opus Audio Processors.

Note: this is a demo model put out by Med-El so potential cochlear implant users could see and handle the part that was actually implanted in the skull behind and above the ear.

It consisted of an electronics module (center), receiving coil (right) and long electrode array (left & bottom). The module measured ¾" x 1 1/16" x ¼" (4.5 x 2.8 x 0.6 cm).
 

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Close-up view of the front of the electronics module of the Med-El Sonata cochlear implant. In the "window" are the words "Not for Human Use" since this is a demonstration module.

Below it reads "Sonata TI 100 Demo" and "Med-El".

This electronics module received the sound signals from the transmitting coil and sent it down the electrode array threaded inside the cochlea.

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Rear view of the electronics module of the Med-El Sonata cochlear implant. The whole implant was encased in silicone rubber to make it impervious to moisture and contaminants.

 

 

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Close-up view of the front of the receiving coil of the Med-El Sonata cochlear implant The transmitting coil matched the size of this receiving coil so that sound signals were transferred from one to the other via magnetic induction.

The magnet in the center of the module was oriented such that it attracted the corresponding magnet in the the center of the transmitting coil, thus holding the transmitting coil in place on the outside of the head.

The outside diameter of the coil was 11/16" (2.3 cm). The magnet was ⅜" (1.0 cm) in diameter.
 

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Close-up view of the back of the receiving coil of the Med-El Sonata cochlear implant showing the same arrangement as the picture above.

The way the two coils worked with each other is exactly the same way transformers work. Varying current flowing through the primary winding (the transmitting coil) creates a varying magnetic field that induces an equal and opposite current flowing in the secondary winding (the receiving coil).

Thus, the sound signal passed through the skin of the cochlear implant wearer via magnetic induction.

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Side view of the Med-El Sonata cochlear implant showing the flexible bend in the middle. This allowed the implanted part to better fit the natural contour of the skull where it was implanted. The two parts were encased in flexible silicone so the implant could exactly fit the "bowl" the doctor made in the skull.

 

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Close-up view of the end of the electrode array showing the individual electrodes. This electrode array was threaded through the cochlea and placed such that the electrodes lined up with the tonotopic "map" of the cochlea. This means that the frequencies controlled by each of the electrodes match the natural frequency distribution of that part of the cochlea.

The total length of the electrode array was 4 11/16" (12.0 cm).

Charles Johnson of Med-El donated this Sonata implant module demo to the Museum. Thanks Charles and Med-El.
 

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