Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Rib and implant used to create Bonebridge ear for Edinburgh deaf man

Brian Hogg's ear
Image caption Brian Hogg's ear has been made with a piece of his own rib

A piece of rib and a bone conduction implant have been used in a pioneering operation to treat an Edinburgh man's hereditary deafness.

Brian Hogg, 29, was fitted with an implant called a Bonebridge and given the new ear by NHS Lothian surgeons.

Mr Hogg is the first person in the UK to have the procedure.

NHS Lothian said the specialist implant operation was carried out in December 2012 at the Lauriston Building in Edinburgh.

Ear drum

The Bonebridge device is fitted in the ear and is used when a patient is unable to have a conventional external hearing aid fitted.

Alex Bennett, an NHS Lothian ear, nose and throat consultant performed the procedure.

Mr Bennett said: "This is a truly innovative procedure and I'm sure the device will make a significant difference to Brian and many other patients like him.

"The Bonebridge implant is intended to improve hearing by replicating the actions of the ear drum.

Image caption Brian Hogg with surgeon Alex Bennett who fitted the Bonebridge

"A discreet audio processor, which is attached to the patient's head, picks up sound waves which are then amplified by the implant and passed to the inner ear through the skull bone.

"These sound waves are then interpreted by the brain as sound."

Mr Hogg was born with Treacher Collins Syndrome, meaning he could not wear conventional hearing aids as they are styled to fit in and around the top and middle of the ear.

Mr Hogg said: "After the new implant was been fitted I've noticed a huge difference in the range of sounds I can hear.

"The sound quality is much better and I can hear noises at a distance now, which my previous device didn't pick up.

"The Bonebridge implant is so light, it's practically weightless. It's tailored to most closely match my normal hearing range.

"When you think about how far mobile phone technology has come in the last 10 years, there have been similar advances in hearing aids.

"The new implant is a really big step forward in technology and I'm very grateful to the team of consultants for fitting the implant for me."

Dr Ingeborg Hochmair, managing director of MED-EL, which designed the implant, said: "Our innovative development of the Bonebridge will considerably improve the lives of patients.

"We consider this new development a great success. The Bonebridge is the culmination of decades of experience gathered in the development of hearing implant solutions."

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