Background: The Vibrant Soundbridge middle ear implant and the Bonebridge bone conducting hearing device are hearing implants that use radio frequency transmission to send information from the sound processor to the internal transducer. This reduces the risk of skin problems and infection but requires a more involved surgical procedure than competitor skin penetrating devices. It is not known whether more complex surgery will lead to additional complications. There is little information available on the reliability of these systems and adverse medical or surgical events. The primary research question is to determine the reliability and complication rate for the Vibrant Soundbridge and Bonebridge. The secondary research question explores changes in quality of life following implantation of the devices. The tertiary research question looks at effectiveness via changes in auditory performance.
Method: The study was designed based on a combination of a literature search, two clinician focus groups and expert review. A multi-centre longitudinal observational study was designed. There are three study groups, two will have been implanted prior to the start of the study and one group, the prospective group, will be implanted after initiation of the study. Outcomes are surgical questionnaires, measures of quality of life, user satisfaction and speech perception tests in quiet and in noise.
Conclusion: This is the first multi-centre study to look at these interventions and includes follow up over time to understand effectiveness, reliability, quality of life and complications.
- Bone conducting device
- Implant registry
- Middle ear implant
- Quality of life