Hearing aids amplify and enhance sound for someone with hearing loss. If a person has severe hearing loss or is deaf, a cochlear implant may provide them with a useful representation of sound that a hearing aid would not be able to do. Cochlear Implants bypass the ear to directly stimulate the auditory nerve.

How does a Cochlear Implant Work?

Cochlear implants use an array of electrodes to stimulate the auditory nerve. These electrodes are placed inside the cochlea of the ear. By stimulating the auditory nerve, the brain experiences the sensation of sound. A Cochlear Implant is made up of 4 major parts:

Microphone
A microphone is place near the outer ear. It picks up sound from the surrounding environment
Speech Processor
The speech processor receives the sound from the microphone and selectively enhances or removes certain types of sounds to better produce sound for the auditory nerve.
Transmitter
The transmitter takes the audio from the speech processor and turns it into electrical pulses.
Electrodes
The electrodes take the electrical pulses generated by the transmitter and use them to stimulate the auditory nerve.
Diagram of Cochlear Implant

Hearing Aids VS Cochlear Implants

Why would you choose a cochlear implant over a hearing aid or a hearing aid over a cochlear implant? Your audiologist or medical special will be able to determine if a cochlear implant is best for your individual situation.

Hearing Aids pick up sound and process it making compensations for the hearing loss you experience. The sound is transmitted down your ear canal where your ear will function as it normally would, but with the processed sound from the hearing aid instead of the direct, natural sound.

Cochlear implants are for much more severe hearing loss or those that might not hear at all. Because cochlear implants bypass the ear, the sound a person experiences using them is not the same as someone with normal hearing or with hearing aids. It may take time for someone with cochlear implants to get used to how it produces sound. A cochlear implant may give some one the ability to communicate with those around them. Cochlear implants must be surgically installed into the patient’s cochlea.

What Cochlear Implant Should I Get?

At Woodward Audiology, LLC we service cochlear implants from Cochlear® and Advanced Bionics®. Please visit there respective websites for more information on the products and options they offer. An audiologist or medical specialist will be able to review the details and differences of the products offered by these manufactures to determine the best one for you.

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