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He was unable to say how long it would take before the devices were back on sale but said if any changes had to be made, the company would need to get regulatory approval from the countries where the units are sold.

Cochlear was also unable to say what the cost of the product recall would be.

Cochlear sold more than 17,000 of its Nucleus 5 range of devices in the 2010/11 financial year, representing 70 percent of its total bionic ear sales in 100 different countries.

The Nucleus 5 range includes the thinnest hearing implants on the market at just 3.9 millimeters (0.15 of an inch) thick.

Cochlear has promoted them as “a new design that is built to last a lifetime.”