Differences Between Hearing Aids And Cochlear Implants
Hearing aid technology uses microphones and amplifiers to help the ear detect sound waves. Modern hearing aids use a computer chip and a small, usually long-lasting battery. Rechargeable hearing aids are also available. The best hearing devices include Bluetooth hearing aids, which connect to your smartphone or computer.
The biggest difference between hearing aids and cochlear implants is the price. Since they do not require surgery, hearing aids cost thousands less than an implant.
Hearing aids also come in a wide range of models and styles. These include:
The biggest difference between hearing aids and cochlear implants is the price. Since they do not require surgery, hearing aids cost thousands less than an implant.
Cochlear implants consist of external and internal parts. The external part has a microphone and speech processor that are linked by wires to a transmitter. The internal part links to the transmitter under the skin behind the ear, connected by a strong magnet. It converts electrical pulses and sends them to parts of the brain that receive sound.
Cochlear implantation surgery can be costly. Medicare and Medicaid usually cover some of the costs, but not all. Cochlear implantation surgery also comes with risks, including meningitis, device failure, and other severe but rare complications.
What To Expect From Surgery
The device is surgically implanted in the ear and activated by an attached component that sits behind the ear. Implantation is typically an outpatient procedure, and patients are placed under general anesthesia.
The surgeon will make an incision behind the ear on the mastoid bone, which leads to the middle ear. Then the surgeon will create an opening in the cochlea, the hearing part of the ear, to insert the implant electrodes that will stimulate the auditory nerve. After testing to ensure the device is aligned and functioning properly, the surgeon will close the incision.
It’s important to note that the device will not be turned on until after the incision is healed approximately two to three weeks after surgery. During this time, the doctor will check in regularly with the patient to ensure they are recovering as expected.
Most patients can return to work within two weeks if their job does not require hearing in the affected ear. After the device is turn on, the audiologist will program the cochlear implant according to what the patient is hearing and will teach the patient how to use the external component.
How To Choose Between Cochlear Implants Vs Hearing Aids
After youve had a hearing test, you should have a good idea about how much hearing impairment you have. If your hearing loss is severe enough to warrant a cochlear implant, your doctor will be able to recommend that based on your tests.
Studies by the Food and Drug Administration show that for every 16,000 people using hearing aids, one person has a cochlear implant. Hearing aids will always fit a wider range of needs for more people than implants.
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What Is The Process Of Getting A Cochlear Implant
Before receiving a cochlear implant, an extensive evaluation is performed that includes a hearing aid evaluation, an audiological evaluation, an otological evaluation, CT scan, a speech-language evaluation, and possibly a psychological evaluation. These tests are performed to ensure that candidacy requirements have been met and that certain benefits may be provided by the implant. Counseling will also be provided by the cochlear implant team regarding the benefits and risks of cochlear implantation.
This will include the medical and surgical risks, the possible benefits to be expected, and the follow-up necessary to ensure an appropriate fitting of the speech processor and rehabilitation.
Who Is A Candidate For Cochlear Implants
People with severe or profound hearing loss who struggle despite having well-fit hearing aids are candidates for cochlear implants. They might be able to hear without lip reading in quiet rooms or on the telephone but find background noise debilitating. Or perhaps talking on the telephone with unfamiliar people feels very difficult. They might also feel frustrated because they think they cant find the best hearing aid. In such cases, its often that cochlear implants are simply the better option.
Fortunately, its uncommon to have a medical issue that limits cochlear implantation surgery. Age is not a disqualifying factor, either. People younger than 1 year old and older than 100 years old have safely received cochlear implants.
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Key Differences Between Cochlear Implants And Hearing Aids
Cochlear implants require a short surgical procedure to implant the receiver just under your skin. Its this component that makes it different from hearing aids.
Cochlear implants can be more effective than prescription hearing aids because they bypass the ear canal and transmit sounds as an electrical signal rather than amplifying sound.
Prescription hearing aids are typically more discrete and can help those with a severe hearing loss as well. However, cochlear implants are used when hearing aids can no longer provide an adequate solution.
The Cochlear Implant Program At The Ottawa Hospital
The team at the Cochlear Implant Program at the Ottawa Hospital is committed to helping every patient optimize their hearing.
The Cochlear Implant Program at the Ottawa Hospital is one of only three programs in Ontario that offers cochlear implant surgery to adults. The program was founded in 1993 and has performed more than 1,000 total surgeries. The program currently receives about 150 referrals per year from audiologists and other hearing professionals in the region.
In addition to their medical expertise, the clinic is well-known for its compassionate care.
Lots of patients tell us that weve become like family. When they come to see us, we will know their name, we will know their story, we will know that they have a grandchild or just had a baby, said Camille Lacasse, Doctor of Audiology and audiologist at The Ottawa Hospital. Our door will always be open. We will always make sure to go the extra mile to figure out how to help you.
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Advantages Of Cochlear Implants:
- Eliminates earmolds, their acoustic feedback issues and irritation of the ear bowl
- Can enable you to hear conversation and thus learn spoken language with relative ease, particularly for those with severe-profound hearing loss
- May enable you to use a regular telephone
- Easier high- frequency speech component perception
- Better overall hearing at high frequencies
- Distance hearing is likely better than with hearing aids
- May enable you to overhear conversations and other environmental sounds
- Better feedback which may help improve your voice quality
- May be the only option when a hearing aid is insufficient.
- May help with auditory neuropathy
Cochlear Implants For Children
Cochlear implants are also an effective hearing solution for children. For many kids with significant hearing loss, hearing aids are not enough to compensate for a damaged ears inability to hear.
If your child failed a newborn hearing screening or still struggles to hear with hearing aids, he or she may be a candidate for cochlear implants. A key factor in realizing success with cochlear implants in children is to have strong family support, as well as a long-term treatment plan that supports developing speech, listening, and language skills.
Whether it be hearing aids, cochlear implants, sign language, or a combination of technology and sign language, the sooner a childs hearing loss can be diagnosed and an intervention plan put in place, the more successful will be the chances of acquiring age-appropriate speech, listening, language, and social skills. Cochlear implants have enabled thousands of children around the world to talk, succeed in school, and socialize with peers.
Read more: How we pursued a cochlear implant for our child
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When Does Surgery Take Place
Once patients have completed the necessary testing to determine candidacy, surgery can be scheduled. Surgery is performed under general anaesthesia, and typically takes two to three hours to complete. The electrode array is fed into the cochlea, and the receiver is placed behind the. Most hospitals require a one to two day hospital stay before going home.
What Are Hearing Aids
A hearing aid is a battery powered device that can be worn in or behind your ear. It includes a microphone to gather sounds, an amplifier to make sounds louder and a receiver to direct the sounds into your ear.
According to the Hearing Health Foundation, a hearing aid may be recommended if you are considered to have moderate, moderately severe, severe or profound hearing loss. Typically, an audiologist, or hearing specialist, works with you to select a brand of hearing aid, program it and adjust the amplifier based on results from various hearing tests.
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Learning To Use A Cochlear Implant
The audiologist will turn on the cochlear implants about 2-4 weeks after surgery. The team fine-tunes them over several weeks to meet your child’s hearing needs. They’ll also teach you how to care for and operate it.
Children with cochlear implants begin auditory rehabilitation and speech and language therapy soon after surgery. Auditory rehabilitation helps a child identify sounds and associate meanings with those sounds. Speech therapy helps them develop and understand spoken language. Expect these sessions to happen once or twice weekly for at least a year.
Hearing Aids And Assistive Devices
Have your friends or family been suggesting that this would be a good idea? Do you feel that people are mumbling? Before you purchase any hearing aid, see a qualified audiologist. Your audiologist will test your hearing and make the appropriate recommendations. If you are a hearing aid candidate, your audiologist will guide you through the selection process.
People hear better with two ears than with one. Binaural hearing improves your ability to understand speech in noise and helps you to locate the sounds around you.
Understanding of speech, especially in noisy environments, will vary depending upon your degree of hearing loss, how well the hearing aids have been fitted, how frequently the hearing aids are used, and the signal-to-noise ratio present in the environment. Many recent developments in hearing aid design help you to cope with adverse listening situations.
Hearing aids are designed to aid hearing but they cannot restore hearing. They are only a part of the hearing rehabilitation process. Your audiologist will help you with all aspects of your journey towards better hearing.
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How Long Do Cochlear Implants Last
Cochlear implants are surgically placed to last a lifetime.
- Daily cleaning of the sound processor behind the ear should be done by using a brush your audiologist provides.
- Routine visits to the audiologist can ensure the implant is working effectively.
Newer, totally implantable cochlear implants are being developed that place all the parts internally, rendering daily maintenance irrelevant, but as of yet, they are unavailable.
How Much Does A Cochlear Implant Cost
Without insurance, a cochlear implant can cost between $30,000 and $50,000 on average.
Most major insurance providers such as Medicare, Medicaid, Tricare, and the Department of Veterans Affairs cover the cost of cochlear implants, or at least a portion of them.
However, sometimes they will not cover the device in cases where there are pre-existing conditions. Youll need to speak to your insurance provider about whether they pay for the devices.
Over time, youll likely need to replace parts like microphones and magnets or need repairs. Some insurance plans can cover these costs, but in other cases you may need to pay for repairs out-of-pocket. Make sure to check if your cochlear implants are covered by a warranty or if your insurance provider pays for repairs.
In cases where you need a cochlear implant but insurance doesnt cover the cost, there are a few organizations that may be able help you or any family members with payment.
One way to find out if youre a good candidate for assistance is by consulting an audiologist, and they may be able to help direct you to resources, organizations, or charities that could be useful.
If your doctors decide you could benefit from a cochlear implant, theyll explain what it entails and schedule the surgery.
Heres what usually happens:
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Hearing Aids Vs Cochlear Implants
Difficulty with hearing affects your participation in everyday life. Hearing loss affects over 48 million Americans and is now the third most chronic condition in the United States. There are two common treatment options to improve hearing- hearing aids and cochlear implants.
The two treatments can sometimes be mixed up or confusing. Hearing aids and cochlear implants are meant to suit certain people in certain categories they do not both only amplify sound.
Cochlear Implants For Hearing Loss: Myths Vs Reality
Hearing loss is among the most common health-related obstacles in the U.S., affecting approximately 18% of adults, with nearly two men affected for every woman. One in eight people in the U.S. age 12 and older have double-sided hearing loss .
Among these patients, nearly 1 million could benefit from cochlear implants a surgically implanted device that can restore up to 80% word recognition and substantial hearing sensation in patients with severe to profound hearing loss. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved cochlear implants for a wide range of patients, including those with:
- Double-sided hearing loss, since the mid-1980s
- Single-sided hearing loss, as of July 2019
- Poor speech comprehension scores while using properly fit hearing aids
Unfortunately, myths about the cochlear implant abound. Many patients don’t know the device is an option for them, or they might be nervous to have surgery or transition from hearing aids .
The result? Too many people with hearing loss are missing out on opportunities to communicate better with loved ones and colleagues.
It’s time to set the record straight let’s debunk the top five myths about cochlear implants, derived from the many questions our team receives from patients.
But first, a quick explanation of how cochlear implants work and what to expect from the procedure.
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How Cochlear Implants Operate
Cochlear implants have both external and internal parts. The internal parts the receiver-stimulator and electrodes are surgically implanted. The surgeon places the electrode array in the cochlea, skipping over the damaged hair cells, and the receiver-stimulator is implanted right behind the ear.
The external portion consists of a processor, microphone, and transmitter that lie behind the ear, similar to the style of behind-the-ear hearing aids. The microphone detects sounds from the environment, and the speech processor chooses and categorizes those sounds. The transmitter receives signals from the speech processor and changes them into electrical impulses, transmitting them to surgically implanted electrodes array. The electrode array then stimulates the auditory nerve, sending impulses and signals to the brain where theyre then interpreted as sounds.
Hearing Aids Vs Cochlear Implants: What Are The Benefits
There are many risks when you let your hearing loss go untreated, including social withdrawal, feelings of loneliness, anxiety, depression and even dementia. Fortunately, there are more hearing loss solutions than ever before. While many people benefit from wearing hearing aids, some with more severe hearing loss rely on cochlear implants. Below is an overview of each and how they may benefit you.
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What Are The Primary Pros And Cons Of Each
Individuals who have cochlear implants often find it easier to use with the telephone, while watching TV, and listening to music because thereâs no earmold to get in the way or little acoustic feedback to deal with. However, users donât have the same control over their device as they do with a hearing aid. A cochlear implant is programmed annually, while a hearing aid can be adjusted quite easily. Cochlear implants also require surgery, which comes with a very high price tag and can run up to $50,000. Surgery also carries some risk, especially for those with underlying medical issues. Hearing aids, on the other hand, cost much less, but they need to be refitted and cleaned regularly.
Cochlear Implant Vs Bone
Bone-anchored hearing aids include a titanium bone implant with an external sound processor. Like the cochlear implant, BAHS require surgery. But instead of using the auditory nerve to transmit signals to the brain like a cochlear implant, bone-anchored hearing aids use the hearing bone. Specifically, BAHS convert sound into vibrations that bypass the nerves and impact the surrounding hearing bone.
BAHS are primarily used for profound hearing loss in one ear, whereas cochlear implants are suited for one or two ears.
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Hearing Aid Vs Cochlear Implant
Hearing aids amplify sound and rely on the integrity of the hair cells of the inner ear. Patients with severe to profound hearing loss may, therefore, obtain limited or no benefit for speech perception. A cochlear implant, on the other hand bypasses/replaces damaged hair cells and directly stimulates the auditory nerve. The electrodes in the internal component of the implant provide the “electrical spark” that is picked up by the nerve and taken to the brain for interpretation. Because these electrodes lie along the length of the cochlea, it is possible to have access to the full range of sounds even where there were no hair cells present.
It is important to note that the insertion of the electrode array results in total hair cells loss consequently, a hearing aid cannot be used in the implanted ear.