What Is a Cochlear Implant?
A cochlear implant is a small hearing device that can help people with severe to profound hearing loss gain accessibility to speech and hear more sound. There are two parts to the over-the-ear cochlear implant: a small piece behind the ear that looks like a hearing aid and a piece that is implanted under the skin surgically. There is also the option of the off-the-ear model that has nothing behind the ear. Traditional hearing aids have advanced considerably in the last few years, but they are not always the right choice for everyone. Approximately 10% of people with significant hearing loss may need implants. Cochlear implants directly stimulate the auditory nerve, which sends signals directly to the brain. This is an entirely different experience of hearing and takes time to become accustomed to. However, for those who have severe to profound hearing loss, it can help provide them with greater access to sound and improve communication greater than a traditional hearing instrument.
Who Benefits from Cochlear Implants?
Less than 6 percent of people in America who could benefit from a cochlear implant have one. According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services more than 188,000 people worldwide have received implants. In the United States, roughly 41,000 adults and 26,000 children have them. Cochlear implants may benefit adults and children who have significant hearing loss.
People who lose their hearing as an adult often do well with cochlear implants because they can relate the signal provided by an implant to sounds they remember. Very young children who experienced significant hearing loss before they acquired language skills are able to learn how to understand and respond to speech after receiving an implant. With auditory therapy, these children and adults are often able to understand speech in a way traditional hearing aids would not provide.
The FDA has a series of requirements to determine who is a good candidate. To find out if cochlear implants are right for you, give us a call and set up your hearing test.
If you think a cochlear implant may be right for you, schedule an appointment and come talk to us about your options. The result may be life changing!