Cochlear Implant vs. Hearing Aid: What’s the Difference?
If you or a friend suffers from hard of hearing, you may be wondering what treatment options are available. Cochlear implants and hearing aids are two common choices, but how do you know which is right for you?
Both devices can improve hearing, but they work in different ways. Keep reading to learn what the key differences between these two devices are.
What are cochlear implants?
Cochlear implants are devices that are surgically implanted into the ear in order to improve hearing. The devices consist of a microphone, a speech processor, and a transmitter. The microphone picks up sound waves and converts them into electrical signals. The speech processor then selects which sounds to amplify and sends the signals to the transmitter. The transmitter sends the signals to the electrode array, which is implanted in the cochlea. The electrode array stimulates the auditory nerve, sending signals to the brain that are interpreted as sound. Cochlear implants can make better hearing in people with severe hearing loss who do not benefit from hearing aids. In some cases, cochlear implants can also provide a sense of sound to people who are deaf.
What are hearing aids?
Hearing aids are apparatuses that are worn in or around the ear. They are used to improve hearing by amplifying sound. Hearing aids can be helpful for people who have hearing loss due to a variety of conditions, including age-related hearing loss, noise-induced hearing loss, and congenital hearing loss. 1 in 4 hearing loss patients has used hearing aids. There are several types of hearing aids, including behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids, in-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids, in-the-canal (ITC) hearing aids, and completely-in-the-canal (CIC) hearing aids. The largest type of hearing aid is a BTE and is worn behind the ear. ITE, ITC, and CIC hearing aids are progressively smaller and fit inside the ear canal. While all types of hearing aids can be effective, the type that is best depends on several factors, including the severity of hearing loss, lifestyle, and personal preferences. As with any electronic device, there are also a variety of features that can be included in hearing aids, such as Bluetooth compatibility and directional microphones. With so many options available, it is important to work with an experienced audiologist to find the type and style of hearing aid that is best suited for your individual needs. Hearing aids can be important in managing hearing loss and helping people maintain their quality of life. In case you feel you might benefit from wearing a hearing aid, make an appointment with an audiologist to get started.
How is Cochlear Implant Candidacy Determined?
Cochlear implants are not suitable for everyone. In order to be considered for this type of implant, you must first undergo a comprehensive evaluation by a team of specialists. This evaluation process will determine if you are a good candidate for the implants and will also help to formulate a treatment plan. During the evaluation, the team will take into account your medical history, hearing test results, and your current level of communication. They will also consider your motivation for pursuing implants and your willingness to undergo surgery and rehabilitation. If you are determined to be a good candidate for cochlear implants, the next step is to undergo surgery to have the devices implanted. After surgery, you will need to participate in extensive rehabilitation in order to learn how to use the implants effectively. With hard work and dedication, cochlear implants can provide a new sense of sound and vastly improve communication ability.
Cochealer Implant Vs. hearing aids
Here are some key differences between Cochealer implants and Hearing aids.
- Hearing Aid. You need to fine-tune your radio station and increase the volume.
- Cochlear implant. Increasing the volume will only make the static louder, as your radio receiver is damaged. There is a need for a new radio.
Hearing Loss Type
- Hearing aids. Hearing loss is mild to profound. Depending on how your hearing loss is caused, it may be conductive, which means it stems from the outer ear or middle ear, or sensory, which means it originates from the inner ear.
- Cochlear implant. Hearing loss is moderate to profound. This type of hearing loss is called sensorineural, which means it originates in your inner ear.
How these devices work
- Hearing aids. A hearing aid amplifies acoustic sound in general or by a specific frequency.
- Cochlear implant. You can hear in a different way with a cochlear implant device. It is referred to as electrical stimulation. A surgically implanted device bypasses your inner ear. It converts acoustic sound into electrical signals. The signals are transmitted directly to the brain from the hearing nerve.
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders shared the statistical data in which they informed that the hearing loss rate in the United States is one in eight (13 percent, or 30 million) among children and adults aged 12 and older. In the 45-54 year old age group, about 2 percent of adults have hearing loss. For adults aged 55 to 64, the rate increases to 8.5 percent. It is important to have regular hearing examinations to maintain good hearing health. Contact a doctor if you think your hearing is impaired. You can also take a free online hearing test.
You can also contact us for a Cochlear implant assessment. Dr. Zhanneta Shapiro worked at Hear USA for 14 months, evaluating hearing aids, diagnosing hearing loss, and dispensing amplification to adults and children. To fit hearing aids objectively for optimal communication, she utilizes all the latest technology every day.