Tuesday, April 23, 2024

What Is The Difference Between Cochlear Implants And Hearing Aids

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Is Cochlear Implant Surgery Right For Me

The Difference Between Hearing Aids and Cochlear Implants

If you are thinking about whether to pursue a cochlear implant now or wait, it is important to know that improvements decrease the longer hearing loss continues. With a successful surgery and rehabilitation, a person may be able to:

  • Perceive different sounds, such as footsteps, a door closing or a phone ringing
  • Understand speech with less need to lip read
  • Understand voices over the telephone
  • Watch TV without closed captioning
  • Hear music

Before thinking about a cochlear implant, it is important to understand certain facts. These include:

A cochlear implant is not right for everyone. To find out if an implant is right for you:

  • You will need to meet with cochlear implant specialists. These may include an audiologist, otologist and speech-language pathologist.
  • You may need to meet with a psychologist or other counselor.
  • You will have physical exams and hearing tests to assess your hearing loss.
  • You will have imaging tests to look at the structure of your ear. These may include X-rays and/or an MRI.

Find A Solution With Our Perth Audiologists

If youre experiencing signs of hearing loss, our audiologists at The Art of Hearing can help you find a hearing solution that suits your individuals needs and circumstances. Were not interested in just selling you a hearing aid; our audiologists are dedicated to supporting you throughout your journey to better hearing and are committed to working with you throughout the rehabilitation process to ensure you get the most out of your new hearing solution.

Organise a consultation with our Perth audiologists today to take the first step towards better hearing.

The Cost Or Funding Of A Cochlear Implant

On average, you can expect to pay anywhere between $30 000 to $45 000. The variation in price is due to a variety of factors including but not limited to the necessary initial consultations, surgery fees, hospital fees, anaesthetist fees, and whether an implant is required for one or both ears.;

Avenues of funding include private health funds depending on what level of cover you have and; DVA Gold or White cards for hearing loss. The latter may cover all costs deemed medically necessary to help you hear again. If you are self-financing, make sure to discuss what costs you can expect, with your Implant Surgeon and Implant Audiologist.;

The State government also has a limited amount of public funding available, with waiting lists typically 12 months or more. Your audiologist can help you navigate the funding options and discuss your eligibility for the different avenues.

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Hearing Aid Pros And Cons

Benefits of hearing aidsHearing aids cost less than cochlear implants. For a cost that breaks down to just a few dollars a day, hearing aids allow people to hear the sounds of the world around them. This can help them at work, in social settings and at play. Hearing aids can help relieve symptoms of tinnitus, or ringing in the ears. For most hearing aid users, the price is well worth the ability to better hear music, the sounds of nature and their loved ones. The intangible benefits of hearing aids are difficult to overstate.

Disadvantages of hearing aidsHearing aids that deliver a truly customizable, quality experience are expensive. A common problem with hearing aids is unwanted feedback, either from the wind or from other noises, though experts are working hard on technologies that reduce this feedback, and many hearing aids today have features that do reduce feedback. Another disadvantage of hearing aids is that they need to be refitted from time to time because of changes in the user’s body. Some hearing aids, depending on the model, also need to be cleaned frequently.

How Does A Hearing Aid Work

The Differences Between Cochlear Implants and Hearing Aids

The Hearing Aid also has an external microphone which picks up the sound. The microphone passes the sound signal to the digital processor and amplifier. The settings on the Hearing aid control the amplification of sound. This sound reaches the users Outer Ear. The settings ensure that the amplification suits the users hearing loss. For more details, read our article on Hearing Aids.

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A Brief History Of Cochlear Implants & Baha

Research on the technology behind cochlear implants began in the 1950s, but it wasnt until the mid-1980s that the implants were approved by the FDA and became commercially available. They are used in cases where the hair cells in the cochlea of the inner ear are damaged and can no longer transmit sound to the auditory nerve. Cochlear implants critically do not restore hearing they merely simulate hearing in a different way and therefore require therapy and retraining in order for the recipient to understand speech and other sounds. For an in-depth look at how they work, check out our Cochlear Implant article.;

Bone anchored hearing aids, on the other hand, are a more modern technology. They have been in use since 1977, but didnt receive approval by the FDA for the treatment of conductive hearing loss until 1996; they were approved again by the FDA in 2002 for the treatment of unilateral sensorineural hearing loss .

Cochlear Implants: Latest News And Research

In recent years, scientific research has focused on the design of an under-the-skin cochlear implant that is completely invisible and, in addition, capable of recharging itself with body movements. This type of implant is part of the next generation technologies for all those suffering from hearing impairments.

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Hearing Aids Vs Cochlear Implants: Whats The Difference

Some people still get confused about what a cochlear implant is and how it differs from a traditional hearing aid. Although these devices are used to improve and enhance hearing, they have various dissimilarities especially when it comes to function.

Lets find out more about the basic differences between the two types of auditory devices:

Hearing Aids: What Are The Advantages

Hearing aids vs. Cochlear Implants

Hearing aids have many benefits, these include:;

  • Hearing aids come in a wide price range and cost much less than Cochlear implants
  • Hearing aids allow people to hear sounds with immediate speech recognition
  • The digital nature of modern hearing aids allows for a highly customisable experience
  • Natural sound quality and auto-adjusts for different listening environments

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What Are The Risks Of Cochlear Implant Surgery

Cochlear implant surgery is a safe and well-tolerated procedure. Rarely, as with all surgeries, risks can occur, including:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection of the membrane that covers the brain
  • Risks of general anesthesia
  • Need to have the implant removed because of an infection

There may be other risks, depending upon your medical condition. Be sure to discuss any concerns with your health care provider before the procedure.

Hearing Implant Solutions For Many Types Of Hearing Loss

Just as no two stories of hearing loss are the same, neither are the stories of overcoming it. Inmany situations, Cochlear can help with one of these treatment options a cochlear implant,Cochlear Hybrid Hearing* or a bone conductionsolution. To determine which isright for your child, familiarize yourself with the following information and schedule anappointment with a Hearing Implant Specialist to start the discussion.

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How Hearing Aids And Cochlear Implants Function

As stated earlier, hearing aids are used to amplify sounds. Sound amplification is either done manually by using a remote control, app or manual button for it to be adjusted. However, there are also hearing aids which automatically increase or decrease the audio frequency. This applies to the most advanced hearing aid technology in the market. An audiologist will program your hearing aids using a software before it will be attached to you.

A cochlear implant channels sound to bypass the damaged parts of the inner ear and directly stimulate the auditory nerve. The implant produces signals and sends it to the auditory nerve, which then passes it onto the brain where they are recognized as sounds. In other words, it works directly with the brain.

What Happens After Cochlear Implant Surgery

How Long Do Cochlear Implants Last?

When leaving the hospital you will be given instructions on how to care for the incisions. You will also learn how to change dressings and care for your stitches. You may wash your ear as normal after a day or two. A follow-up appointment is made for about one week later or at activation to inspect the incisions and remove the stitches.

You should report increased pain, drainage or fever to your health care provider following the procedure.

You will have some time to heal after the initial surgery before the implant device is turned on or activated. About four to six weeks after the surgery, the external parts of the cochlear implant will be added. These include a microphone and speech processor. At that time, the speech processor is programmed and activated, which causes the internal device to stimulate the cochlear nerve in response to sounds.

You will also learn the basics of using and caring for the implant. You may need to return for several visits over a few days for adjustments. Further fine-tuning will take place over several months. Learning to use a cochlear implant is a gradual process. It will likely require visits with speech-language pathologists and audiologists. With commitment, you can experience an improved quality of life with a cochlear implant.

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What Is A Cochlear Implant

Cochlear implants look similar to hearing;aids but require surgical implantation.Photo courtesy Oticon Medical.

Cochlear implants are complex medical devices which must be surgically implanted by a medical professional. These devices bypass the damaged portion of the inner ear to directly stimulate the auditory nerve. Cochlear implants do not restore hearing, rather, they provide the sensation of sound for those who are deaf or have profound hearing loss.;;

There are two main parts to a cochlear implant: external and internal:

  • The external component houses a microphone, speech processor and transmitter. A small wire links the microphone and speech processor to the transmitter, which is positioned outside the ear over the receiver.
  • The internal component contains a receiver that;is implanted under the skin just behind the ear, along with one or more electrode arrays which are implanted deep into the inner ear.;

Q: Who Is A Candidate For A Cochlear Implant

A: Most cochlear implant recipients try hearing aids first, prior to surgery. If hearing aids do not provide maximum benefit, due to reduced cochlear function or poor speech discrimination, cochlear implant surgery is considered. Determining cochlear implant candidacy often involves audiologic testing, medical examination, and imaging studies . Children as young as 12 months can be implanted. Most recipients have profound sensorineural hearing loss or congenital deafness.

Rehabilitation services following implantation are provided by speech language pathologists and audiologists. The cost for one device varies greatly, ranging anywhere from $40,000 to $100,000. Health insurance companies provide varying degrees of benefit for the surgical procedure, device and follow-up services.;

To learn more about cochlear implants, .

Ready to talk with a hearing professional near you? to find a hearing provider.;

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What Happens During Cochlear Implant Surgery

Cochlear implant surgery is done in a hospital or clinic. The surgery lasts two to four hours. You are given medication to make you sleep during the procedure.

  • The surgeon makes a cut behind the ear and then opens the mastoid bone.
  • The surgeon identifies the facial nerves and creates an opening between them to access the cochlea, which is then opened. He or she inserts the implant electrodes into the cochlea.
  • The surgeon places an electronic device called the receiver under the skin behind the ear, securing it to the skull in this area.
  • The incisions are then closed, and you will be moved into the recovery area and watched closely.
  • You will be discharged after at least two hours of observation.

What Are The Steps Of Getting A Cochlear Implant

Sound Amplifier Compared To Hearing Aid and Cochlear Implant

Before proceeding with your cochlear implant surgery, you must undergo a preliminary clinical tests to assess your eligibility. The tests to be performed are:

  • audiological testing such as tonal and vocal audiometry;
  • assessment of hearing aid performance for those already wearing a hearing aid;
  • a computed tomography scan and/or an MRI scan;
  • traditional examinations for procedures performed under general anesthesia.

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Do You Need To Use A Specific Brand Of Hearing Aid With A Cochlear Implant Is There A Difference Between Cochlear Implant Companies

Other Systems

Other cochlear implant systems are often promoted as having a specific partner-brand hearing aid. These systems are marketed as better because that hearing aid has been programmed to treat sound the same as that cochlear implant.

However, with these other systems, this usually really means significantly changing the way the hearing aid treats sound to be more like that cochlear implant. And in the end, this can mean that your hearing ability with the hearing aid is reduced. And when one ear cant hear as well, then both ears arent hearing up to their full potential.

Bimodal with MED-EL

At MED-EL, our philosophy is to provide a closer match to natural hearing with our cochlear implants. The idea is simple: Provide a closer match between both ears, so that both ears can work better together.

This makes it easier to match any hearing aidincluding the hearing aid youre wearing right now. By letting both ears hear their best, both ears can work together better.

How Are They Different

One of the largest differences between hearing aids and cochlear implants is that individuals can easily take off their hearing aids, whereas cochlear implants are permanently attached. Most individuals will undergo outpatient surgery to have a cochlear implant. However, children and those with underlying health conditions need inpatient surgery.

Hearing aids are more suitable for those with mild-to-severe hearing loss, whereas cochlear implants are more suited for those with profound hearing loss. While hearing aids amplify sounds, cochlear implants provide a sense of sound. An audiologist can recommend which device is more suitable depending on an individuals type of hearing loss.

Cochlear implants directly stimulate the auditory nerve, which the brain interprets as sound. They have different frequencies, and users can hear strange sounds due to magnetic fields , while other sounds can have an artificial quality.

Additionally, the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders states that infants under 18 months old with profound hearing loss may benefit more from cochlear implants. A 2019 review found that implantations on infants early in life resulted in better outcomes, allowing them to learn language and understand speech.

Individuals will need extra support after having a cochlear implant. Speech-language pathologists and audiologists can help people interpret the signals that cochlear implants send.

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Who Should Use A Hearing Aid

  • If a person has some residual hearing and can follow a conversation. The first choice should be a Hearing Aid.
  • Hearing aids are easier to handle. In the case of elderly patients, Hearing aids are advisable.
  • Hearing aids are easier and economical to maintain.
  • Elderly patients who are not in favour of surgery should opt for Hearing aids. Read about the Pros and Cons of Cochlear Implant surgery.

Both the Hearing devices have their distinct advantages. Hold a detailed discussion involving the Doctor, Audiologist and the family. Itâs an important decision, a Doctor cannot reverse a Cochlear Implant surgery.

One must not shy away from using external aids. These aids are important for growth in young people and a healthy family and social life in the case of elders.


About the Author
Amrik SinghArora is the founder of EarGuru â the Ear Health Blog. An Engineer by qualification, he has over 20 years of experience in manufacturing and sale of Hearing aids, Audiometers and Assistive listening devices. He was the Secretary of the Hearing Association of India from 2013 to 2017 and was last Associated with Starkey India as a Director-Business Development.

Bottom Line: Cochlear Implant Or Hearing Aid

Cochlear Implants vs. Hearing Aids

Cochlear implants are best for those with severe to profound hearing loss. Cochlear implants are very expensive, but they provide the possibility of experiencing sound when before it was impossible. This can completely change a loved one’s life.

Hearing aids are best for those who have mild to moderate hearing loss. If you think that your life could be improved by being better able to hear the sounds around you, consider purchasing a hearing aid. Once you have chosen a hearing aid, an experienced audiologist will help you fit it.

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Is One Hearing Implant Enough For My Child

Ears work as a team, and hearing with both improves speech recognition and the ability to detectwhere sounds are comingfrom.10

Find Out More

Interested in learning about how hearing implants could help your child? Please complete the short form below to receive a free Resource Guide.

The advantages of hearing with bothears.

Hearing with both ears is called binaural hearing and can be achieved with twohearing aids, a hearing aid and hearing implant, or two hearing implants.

Bimodal hearing combines the benefits of hearing aids withcochlear implants by fitting one on each ear.

  • Bimodal hearing is effective for children with hearing in the ear opposite theimplant ear
  • The Cochlear Nucleus® and Baha® ImplantSystems work with any hearing aid that your child may use in a bimodalconfiguration
  • Cochlear has partnered with GN ReSound® – the leader in SmartHearing aids to provide the worlds smartest bimodal hearingsolutions using SMARTstream
  • SMARTstream streams sound directly into the ReSound hearing aid and the Nucleusor Baha Sound Processors when using one of our True Wirelessaccessories

Bilateral hearing implants benefit children withprofound hearing loss in both ears, allowing them to learn and develop speech.

Just as bilateral hearing aids help those with mild to moderate hearing loss,bilateral hearing implants may help when hearing aids do not give your child fullaccess to the sounds needed to learn speech.


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