You may have heard about cochlear implants as an alternative to hearing aids or other devices, but what do you actually know about them?
What are cochlear implants?
Cochlear implants are electronic medical devices that do the work of the damaged parts of the inner ear to provide the brain with sound signals. The implants are an effective and reliable treatment helping people with severe to profound sensory neural hearing loss, in either one or both ears, to be able to hear again.
They are an excellent alternative for people who receive little to no benefit from traditional hearing aids, or who score 65% or less on sentence recognition tests conducted by audiologists.
The implants consist of two main parts: an external battery, microphone and transmitter held by a magnet to the skin, and an internal magnet, receiver and electrode beneath the skin.
How do they work?
The internal cochlear implant works when the external battery-operated sound processor worn behind the ear or on the body, captures sound via twin microphones and turns the noise into digital code. The signal is sent to a transmitter, which in turn sends those signals through the skin to the internal implant. The implant converts the digitally-coded sound into electrical impulses and sends them to the electrode array placed in the cochlea (the inner ear), which stimulates the nerve fibres in the cochlear of the ear. Finally the signals are interpreted as sound.
Many people with implants have bilateral implants, which means an implant in each ear. This gives the wearer a greater ability to identify the direction sounds are coming from, and better differentiate one sound from another.
What are the benefits?
Many adults with cochlear implants report that they hear better with an implant than with a hearing aid. They report that they’re able to focus better when in noisy environments, enabling them to have conversations with people across meeting tables, in restaurants and other crowded places. Rediscover sounds they’d been missing from before they got their cochlear implant. Start to feel safer in the world as they can hear alarms, people calling out and approaching vehicles. Talk and hear on the phone enjoy music.
These implants offer a variety of different benefits to different individuals, but mostly they offer the ability to hear a wider variety of sounds than before implantation thereby giving the wearer greater freedoms to communicate and enjoy music, conversation and more.
Connect Hearing have a range of hearing processors and medical implant systems available through http://www.advancedbionics.com/. If you, or someone you know, are looking for a solution beyond hearing aids, first consult your audiologist and then see if Advanced Bionics implants are right for your needs.