Cochlear Implants For Hearing Loss: FAQS

If you suffer from hearing loss and currently use a hearing aid, then you may have heard of cochlear implants for hearing loss. If you wonder how they work if they are right for you, read on to learn the answers to frequently asked questions. This way, you'll learn more about these devices and their benefits. 

How Does a Cochlear Implant Differ From a Hearing Aid?

Hearing aids for hearing loss are typically small, discreet devices placed inside of the ear temporarily when needed. These devices amplify specific sounds and filter out others to help people suffering from hearing loss hear important sounds, such as people speaking, more clearly. 

A cochlear implant, on the other hand, is permanently implanted behind your ear in a small hole made in the skull. This device does not amplify sounds, but it instead turns sound signals into electrical vibrations that it then sends directly to the auditory nerve with the help of an external microphone and speech processor that is placed near the device on the outside of the head. 

After a cochlear implant is placed, the sounds transmitted to the auditory nerve will sound different than those heard with a hearing aid, so it takes some time for the brain to learn to interpret these sounds properly. 

Who Can Benefit From a Cochlear Implant? 

A cochlear implant is not the best option for everyone suffering from hearing loss. If you currently wear a hearing aid and find it works relatively well, then the hearing aid may be the best option for you right now. However, if your hearing loss is so severe that a hearing aid no longer helps you as it used to, then you may be a good candidate for a cochlear implant. 

Other good candidates for this hearing loss implant include children under one year of age with severe hearing loss and some older children who struggle to hear well with hearing aids. 

How Is a Cochlear Implant for Hearing Loss Placed?

About 4-6 weeks before cochlear implant surgery, a person who qualifies for the procedure will first attend a fitting session where the patient is fitted with the external components of the device and the implant is programmed to the specifications that meet their needs best. The device is then turned on, allowing the patient to get an idea of what the sounds transmitted by the implant will sound like. The device is then worn outside the body for several months as adjustments are made as needed. 

Finally, on the day of cochlear implant surgery, a person is placed under general anesthesia and an incision is made behind the ear where the internal device is then implanted. Finally, the incision site is sutured shut and allowed to heal before the external device is connected to it. 

If you suffer from hearing loss, then now you understand who is a good candidate for cochlear implant surgery and how this hearing loss implant works. To learn more, contact a hearing loss service.