Plastics technology is making important contributions to restoring human hearing.
Cochlear implants using molded polyethylene and elastomers such as silicone are now well proven as a successful treatment for severe to profound hearing loss. They first debuted more than 30 years ago, and designs have increasingly leveraged micro molding capabilities.
A critical component is an electrode array in which photopolymerization is used to model the cochlea. Lead wires are surrounded by polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS). Housings for external accessories are molded from plastic.
In a new development, Envoy Medical Corp. (St. Paul, MN) has developed what it describes as the industry's first totally implantable hearing system for moderate to severe sensorineural hearing loss....