The Cochlear Hybrid System combines a cochlear implant with an acoustic hearing aid. The system helps people who have profound hearing loss at high frequencies, yet can still hear at low frequencies. The implant part of the system uses electronic signals to stimulate areas of the inner ear that are receptive to high frequency, while the attached hearing aid amplifies low frequency sound.
Claimed to be the first system that truly integrates cochlear implants and hearing aid systems, the Cochlear Hybrid represents a new market for Cochlear, designed for people with some residual hearing rather than people with profound hearing loss who require traditional cochlear implants. The new implant design has a shorter, thinner electrode that is inserted a short way into the cochlea to stimulate only the higher frequency sounds, preserving the part of the cochlea that can hear low frequency sounds. Well suited to people with age-related hearing loss, the Hybrid System is said to improve understanding of speech in noisy environments, awareness of environmental sounds and appreciation of music.
The Cochlear Hybrid System received an Engineering Excellence Award, an Australian International Design Award and Powerhouse Museum Selection in 2009. The system represents continued innovation by an Australian company that has become an international leader in the manufacture and sale of cochlear implant systems.