Hearing aids are comprised of a microphone, amplifier, and receiver (speaker). The microphone picks up sound, which is amplified and sent into the ear canal and directed to the tympanic membrane (eardrum) through a receiver (speaker). The amplified sound pressure bends the tiny hair cells in the cochlea (inner ear) causing electrical signals to be sent to the brain for interpretation as speech or sounds.
When a hearing aid is used, a custom mold is commonly made to fit tightly in the ear canal, especially for patients with moderate-severe to severe hearing loss. This is done for both in-the-ear and behind-the-ear aids. This provides as much sound pressure as possible to the ear canal and does not allow it to escape. However, by having blocking or occluding the ear canal, the natural physics of the hearing system are changed which may alter the perception of one’s voice when talking. This often makes the wearer’s voice sound hollow or “down in a barrel” which is called the occlusion effect.
MAXUM is different because there is no amplified sound pressure.
With hearing aids, as amplified sound pressure from the speaker becomes larger in the ear canal, sounds can become distorted. Distortion makes it difficult to understand speech.
Feedback occurs when the amplified sound from within the ear canal makes its way back to the microphone of the hearing aid. This sets up a feedback loop and the result is a squealing or whistling sound. This is similar to a microphone getting too close to a loudspeaker in a PA system. The occurence of feedback is more prevalent in patients with greater hearing loss as they require more and more gain for their hearing loss. As gain is increased, more sound energy escapes back to the microphone. Gain can only be provided up to the point that feedback occurs. Therefore, this limits the gain and benefit that conventional hearing aids may provide.
These problems are directly related to why so many patients are dissatisfied with their hearing aids.
MAXUM changes that. Maxum does not use amplified sound pressure, but instead provides direct cochlear stimulation. Maxum technology provides improved sound quality, reduced occlusion and less feedback.
The MAXUM system is not an acoustic hearing aid.
The MAXUM System is a middle ear implant consisting of a tiny rare-earth magnet implanted on the ossicles, the middle ear bones, and a processor worn in the ear canal or behind the ear. The implant procedure takes about 30 minutes and can be performed in a procedure room or outpatient clinic under a local anesthetic.
How MAXUM Works
Unlike hearing aids, MAXUM does not use a speaker to amplify sound. Instead, an advanced Sound Processor sends electric signals to a transceiver coil. The coil changes these to electromagnetic signals. These signals are transferred across the eardrum to the MAXUM implant which cause the ossicles to vibrate thereby directly stimulating the cochlea (inner ear) and the microscopic hair cells there that send nerve impulses to the brain that are interpreted as speech and sound.
Direct cochlear stimulation provides cleaner, crisper sound quality and more amplification without feedback.