Hearing Aids vs. Cochlear Implants

The most common treatment for hearing loss is hearing aids, but these devices don’t work for everyone. Understanding your treatment options can ensure you find the right solution for your unique type and degree of hearing loss.

How Hearing Aids Work

Main points at his hearing aid.

Hearings aids amplify sounds loud enough for you to hear them. There are a number of different types and styles of hearing aids, but they all have the same basic components.

A microphone picks up external sounds and converts the soundwaves into electrical signals, which are sent to the amplifier. The amplifier increases the power of these signals and sends them to the speaker. The speaker delivers the newly amplified signals to your ear.

How Cochlear Implants Work

Instead of amplifying sound to a degree the ear can hear, cochlear implants bypass the damaged portion of the ear to provide the sound signals directly to the auditory nerve.

There are four parts to a cochlear implant. The microphone picks up sounds from the environment, and the speech processor selects and arranges them. The transmitter and receiver take those newly arranged sounds and convert them into electric impulses. The final piece, the electrode array, collects the impulses from the receiver and delivers that directly to the auditory nerve.

Who Can Benefit from Cochlear Implants?

Cochlear implants are reserved for those who are deaf or severely hard of hearing who cannot benefit from a hearing aid. Adults and children as young as six months old can be fit with this device. The best candidates are highly motivated and have realistic expectations of what cochlear implants can do for their hearing.

Cochlear Implant Surgery

Surgery is required to implant the device. An incision is made behind the ear and a small hole is made in the skull bone and in the cochlea. The electrode is placed in the cochlea and the rest of the internal device rests in the hole in the skull bone.

Most patients can return home the same day of surgery. The surgery site must heal for two to six weeks before the device can be activated.

To learn more about the best treatment option for your type and degree of hearing loss or to schedule an appointment with an expert, contact Tinnitus & Hearing Experts today.

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