The HEARing Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) and Cochlear Limited have received the Award for Excellence for Innovation from the Australian CRC Association for their work on the Cochlear™ Hybrid™ System.
The new system, released by member organisation Cochlear, was made possible by collaborative research carried out by the HEARing CRC, and opens up cochlear implant technology to a new group of potential recipients who do not receive sufficient benefit from conventional hearing aids. It is the world’s first implantable system that can fully integrate acoustic signals (from a hearing aid) with electrical signals (from a cochlear implant) to address the challenge of partial hearing loss.
The Cochlear Hybrid System builds on Cochlear ‘s existing state-of-the-art cochlear implant technology, which has restored hearing to over 140,000 hearing impaired adults and children worldwide. The new Hybrid system delivers an integrated solution for a group of patients who could not previously benefit from cochlear implantation, estimated at more than 70,000 in Australia alone.
“The cochlear implant is one of biomedical engineering’s most amazing technological feats. It is one of the few implantable medical devices that truly integrates with the user’s own nervous system in order to restore hearing ability,” said CEO A/Prof Robert Cowan.
“The HEARing CRC worked closely with Cochlear on biosafety and surgical studies to develop the Hybrid electrode concept and subsequent clinical trials,” continued A/Prof Cowan. “We have successfully shown that the new Hybrid electrode array can preserve the recipient’s existing low frequency hearing, while effectively replacing their lost high frequency hearing with electrical signals.”
A/Prof Cowan accepted the Award for Excellence in Innovation at a recent gala dinner, accompanied by Simone Jeha, senior product manager at Cochlear.
“We are delighted and honoured to have received this important award for the Hybrid system,” said Dr Chris Roberts, CEO of Cochlear. “It recognises our company’s commitment to collaboration with the CRC to advance research and technology that will provide innovative solutions for the hearing impaired.”