Hugh Hetherington Hearing Aid Museum
Hugh Hetherington Hearing Aid Museum

The Hearing Aid Museum

Hearing Aids of all types—Ear Trumpets, Carbon Hearing Aids, Vacuum Tube Hearing Aids, Transistor Hearing Aids, Body Hearing Aids, Eyeglass Hearing Aids and much more!

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Cochlear Implants—Med-El

Med-El Pulsar Cochlear Implant (demo)

The Med-El Pulsar cochlear implant  was made by Med-El GMBH of Innsbruck, Austria in 2004.

This cochlear implant module worked with the Tempo+ Audio Processor.

Note: this is a demo model put out by Med-El so potential cochlear implant users could see and handle the part that was actually implanted in the skull behind and above the ear.

It consisted of an electronics module with receiving coil (left), a ground electrode (top & right), and a long electrode array (right & bottom). The module measured 1 5/16" x 1 1/16" x 3/16" (3.3 x 2.6 x 0.5 cm).

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Close-up view of the top of the Med-El Pulsar cochlear implant.  On the front it reads "Med-El Pulsar Demo".

The Pulsar cochlear implant was made of white ceramic and covered on the left half by silicone.

This implant module consisted of three parts—electronic components, a receiving coil and a magnet. The receiving coil sent the received sound signals from the transmitting coil to the electronics part where it was sent down the electrode array threaded inside the cochlea.

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Close-up view of the bottom of the Med-El Pulsar cochlear implant. On the bottom in reads "Not for Human Use" since this is a demo unit.

The magnet in the center of this module was oriented such that it attracted the corresponding magnet in the the center of the transmitting coil, thus holding the transmitting coil in place on the outside of the head.

The way the two coils worked with each other is exactly the same way transformers work. Varying current flowing through the primary winding (the transmitting coil) create a varying magnetic field that induces an equal and opposite current flowing in the secondary winding (the receiving coil).

Thus, the sound signal passed through the skin of the cochlear implant wearer via magnetic induction.

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Close-up view of the end of the ground electrode.

The total length of the ground electrode was 2⅝" (6.7 cm).



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Close-up view of the end of the electrode array showing the individual electrodes. This electrode array was threaded through the cochlea and placed such that the electrodes lined up with the tonotopic "map" of the cochlea. This means that the frequencies controlled by each of the electrodes match the natural frequency distribution of that part of the cochlea.

The total length of the electrode array was 4 9/16" (11.6 cm).

Charles Johnson of Med-El donated this Pulsar implant module demo to the Museum. Thanks Charles and Med-El.

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