Although hearing aids are widely used to address hearing loss, cochlear implants can be a more suitable solution for certain individuals. Discover how cochlear implants function and determine whether you might be eligible as a candidate.
What is a Cochlear Implant
In contrast to hearing aids, cochlear implants are complex medical devices that operate in a distinct manner. Instead of simply amplifying sound, which benefits individuals with residual hearing, cochlear implants stimulate the auditory nerve directly to convey the perception of sound.
Image courtesay of Cochlear
It’s important to note that cochlear implants do not cure hearing loss or restore natural hearing. However, they offer an opportunity for those who are severely hard of hearing or deaf to experience the sensation of sound by bypassing the damaged inner ear.
Unlike hearing aids, cochlear implants necessitate a surgical procedure for implantation.
A cochlear implant consists of two main components: the external part and the internal part. These components are securely connected to each other using a strong magnet.
The external part is a sound processor designed to be worn behind the ear. It resembles a hearing aid and is powered by batteries. Equipped with small microphones, it captures sounds from the environment and transmits them to the internal part of the implant through your skin.
The internal part requires surgical fitting by a qualified surgeon. It receives the signals from the sound processor and stimulates the nerve fibers within your inner ear. These nerve signals then travel to your brain, where they are interpreted as sound.
Who can benefit from a Cochlear Implant?
Cochlear implants are a beneficial option for individuals, both adults and children, who experience moderate to severe sensorineural hearing loss. This type of hearing loss occurs when a portion of the inner ear does not function effectively. By bypassing the damaged section of the inner ear, cochlear implants can help restore hearing capabilities.
Cochlear implants are particularly suitable for individuals who:
- Have severe or profound hearing loss.
- Possess functioning hearing nerves.
- Find that their hearing loss cannot be adequately addressed with traditional hearing aids.
- Are able to actively participate in speech therapy following the implantation procedure.
Are you a candidate for Cochlear Implant
To determine if you or a loved one is a candidate for an implant, the initial step involves scheduling an appointment with an audiologist to undergo a comprehensive hearing assessment. Based on the results of your hearing test, your prior experience with hearing aids, and the potential benefits you can expect from them, your audiologist will be able to provide guidance on the subsequent course of action.
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