SoundBite: A Solution for Hearing Loss!
Last updated: Oct 22, 2012, 06:00 AM
By Joy Pierce Mathews for Summit Medical Group
Reviewed by Jed A. Kwartler, MD
Are you one of approximately 60,000 people in the United States with deafness in one ear (single-sided deafness or SSD)? Does the shape of your ear canal or do chronic ear canal infections prevent you from wearing a hearing aid? If you answered yes to these questions, then you might benefit from the SoundBite Hearing System!
Appropriately named, SoundBite™ transmits sound vibrations to the cochlea through the jaw bone and teeth. The novel hearing system includes a discreet microphone / sound processor that is placed behind the ear, a tiny microphone that is placed within the ear canal, and a custom-made vibrating device that fits around the back upper molars. A battery charger is included in the package to recharge batteries in each of the components.
How SoundBite Works
The behind-the-ear SoundBite processor gathers sounds the outer ear collects naturally. It then processes and transmits the sounds to the device attached to your teeth. The in-the-mouth SoundBite device converts the signals it receives into sound vibrations that travel through the teeth and bone to your cochlea — an approach that allows sound to bypass the impaired part of your ear and be sent directly to your cochlea.
- Cutsom made and comfortable
- Placed without surgery
- Placed without dental work or changes to your teeth
- Almost invisible
- Clinically proved to improve your hearing and make speech in noisy environments understandable
- Approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
Once SoundBite is in place, you can continue to eat, drink, and bite down normally!
SoundBite does not highlight sounds in the mouth
such as chewing and teeth clicking together.
Who is a candidate for SoundBite?
You might be a good candidate for SoundBite if you are unable to hear in one ear and have your adult molars. People who wear dentures are not candidates for SoundBite. Ask your audiologist or ear specialist to find out whether SoundBite is right for you.
"SoundBite is a clever advance in hearing rehabilitation," says Summit Medical Group Ear Specialist Jed A. Kwartler, MD, MBA. "People with single-sided deafness or chronic ear canal problems who choose SoundBite can avoid surgery and hear better," he adds. "Compared with other hearing devices, SoundBite offers patients fewer complications, including the need for 2 hearing aids. It also eliminates issues associated with implanted devices such as infection and down time for recovery after surgery."
If you are a candidate for SoundBite, your ear specialist (otologist) will evaluate you. Your audiologist will discuss fitting and pricing with you. Then a dentist trained to make molds for the SoundBite device will make an impression of your teeth to create a custom-made SoundBite mouth fitting. You will then return to your audiologist who will program and place your new SoundBite Hearing System so that you can rejoin conversations!
What does SoundBite cost?
The total cost of the SoundBite Hearing System is $6,800, with an initial out-of-pocket cost of approximately $1800. The remaining cost of the hearing system will then be billed to your insurance company. Some insurance plans entirely or partially cover the cost of prosthetic devices such as SoundBite.
To avoid unexpected costs before getting a SoundBite Hearing System, you should first ask your insurer whether you have a prosthetic benefit in your plan and find out how much it will cover. Depending on your coverage, there may be no additional expense for your SoundBite Hearing System.
Ask your audiologist to review all SoundBite costs, including those associated with your hearing test, fitting, and programming the device.
Summit Medical Group is among the first centers
For more information about SoundBite
or to get a hearing test,
call Summit Medical Group Audiology