Skip to main content Deutsch
(Vienna 14th September 2011) A world’s first at the Medical University of Vienna: an extremely thin, so-called “floating electrode” as part of a cochlear implant for the preservation of residual hearing has been implanted for the first time at the University Department of Ear, Nose and Throat Diseases. Researchers from MedUni Vienna have developed a new, less-invasive operation method and were significantly involved in the development of the thin electrode which is now only 0.2 mm instead of a previous 0.5 mm.

Cochlear implants are electronic hearing aids, which in the case of deafness or severe hearing difficulties can restore the patient’s ability to hear. An implant with a stimulation electrode is inserted into the cochlea during a surgical procedure with the use of a microscope. Electrical impulses are sent through this device to the brain via the cochlear nerve and as a result a hearing impression is created. “As well as the new electrode, we have developed a surgical method in which the cochlea no longer has to be opened with a bore hole. We simply puncture the membrane of the round window. That protects the residual hearing and is significantly less destructive”, says Wolf-Dieter Baumgartner when explaining the innovation.

This research success also underlines the top position that the MedUni Vienna has acquired in ENT implants. The first cochlear implant in Vienna, which was implanted in 1977 at the Vienna ENT Department, was also the first multiple-channel cochlear implant in the world. It was following this that the technology really started to take off and become frequently used. Wolfgang Gstöttner, Head of the Viennese Department, is an internationally leading expert in the field of hearing implants. He and Wolf-Dieter Baumgartner are also represented in the international network of leading hearing implant centres (HEARRING), and last week the ENT Department’s 1,000th cochlear implant was successfully performed. In doing so, a Viennese patient has had her hearing restored.

The 55th Austrian ENT congress is taking place from 14th to 17th September at the Vienna Hofburg.