Hearing Aids Vs Cochlear Implants
Hearing aids are electronic devices in or behind the ear that capture sound and make it louder by using amplification. They are typically a solution for those who have mild to severe hearing loss and have some remaining healthy sensory cells in the inner ear that can transmit sound to the brain. If you are able to hear with a hearing aid but not able to understand what is being said, another solution may be more appropriate to provide the clarity needed to understand some sounds, including speech.
Cochlear implants are surgically implanted medical devices that help people with severe to profound sensorineural hearing loss in both ears. Cochlear implants are designed to replace the function of healthy sensory cells in the inner ear and restore access to the sounds you are missing using electrical impulses to transmit sound through the inner ear to the hearing nerve.
Hearing aids can help amplify the sounds you hear while cochlear implants can help provide increased clarity of the sounds.
Selecting the most appropriate hearing technology is critical to your hearing success.
For some, hearing aids may be an effective option to treat hearing loss. However, as hearing loss progresses, it may still be difficult to understand conversations, even when using powerful hearing aids. This is when a cochlear implant may be a more effective solution to provide access to clearer sound.
Signs That Your Hearing Aids May Not Be Providing Enough Benefit
Have difficulty understanding conversations, especially in background noise?
Frequently ask people to repeat themselves?
Often misunderstand what people say?
Have trouble hearing on the telephone?
Turn up the volume on the TV louder than others in the room prefer?
Feel people often mumble when they talk?
Struggle to hear birds chirping or rain falling?
Find yourself agreeing, smiling or nodding during conversations when you're not sure what's been said?
Withdraw from conversations because it’s too difficult to hear?
Rely on reading lips to understand what people are saying?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, a cochlear implant may be able to help you hear and understand conversations better.
Benefits of Cochlear Implant
1) Access to Sounds
The sample audiogram indicates sounds you may have access to with a cochlear implant.
In this example, sounds below the CI line, as indicated by the gray shaded area, can be heard with a cochlear implant.
The pictures represent sounds at typical volume and frequency levels.
Consonants and vowels are spoken at frequencies in the spectrum of sound that fall within the yellow highlighted area, also known as the "speech banana."
2) Improved Health and Keeping Your Mind Sharp
You do not have to wait until you lose all your hearing to benefit from a cochlear implant. You can hear better sooner and experience the health benefits and improved hearing outcomes.
In fact, studies have shown that people with cochlear implants:
See improvements in overall health.
See improvements in verbal and memory functions.
Are less likely to experience social isolation.
It is important that you have realistic expectations of the benefits of a cochlear implant. It will take commitment, patience, and support.
3) Better Hearing Outcomes
Hearing your friends and family in noisy situations is especially difficult for those with hearing loss.
Now you don’t have to miss out on those important conversations. In fact, adult cochlear implant users demonstrated a significant improvement in hearing in noise when compared to their hearing aid performance.