Hearing loss is a substantial condition that affects millions of people worldwide. To combat hearing loss, many people receive cochlear implants. These devices have been FDA-approved for over 30 years and can be used in both adults and children. Cochlear implants could help patients to hear more clearly. At NYHD, we understand that each patient has different symptoms and concerns about hearing loss. We will help to recommend the best treatment for hearing loss in order to make your life easier.
Cochlear implants are surgically implanted medical devices approved by the FDA to treat hearing loss. This solution works for people of all ages with moderate-to-profound sensorineural hearing loss (nerve hearing loss). People with nerve hearing loss receive limited benefits from the use of hearing aids so they can only hear parts of a conversation. Cochlear implants can improve hearing so patients can hear a conversation more fully. These implants have been approved for use in children as young as 12 months old.
These surgically implanted devices operate using two components: an external part and an internal part. These two components are coupled with the use of a powerful magnet.
The external component contains a microphone, a speech processor, and a transmitter. The speech processor and microphone are contained in a small unit that looks like a hearing aid. A small wire will link this to the transmitter. This microphone picks up acoustic sounds and sends it to the speech processor. The processor will then send the message to the transmitter which codes the signals and send them to the implanted receiver.
The internal component includes a receiver. This is located under the skin on the temporal bone. The receiver will collect signals from the transmitter and converts them into electrical pulses. These electrodes stimulate the auditory nerve throughout a portion of the cochlea. The brain interprets these signals as sound.
Are cochlear implants painful?
Although rare, some cochlear implant patients report pain at the implantation site, which is often resolved through re-implanting the device.
Can hair cover a cochlear implant?
In many cases, the small bump, incision, and external transmitter device can all be hidden by a patients hair.
Are cochlear implants worth it?
When hearing aids alone are not effective in correcting moderate to severe hearing loss, cochlear implants can be a life-changing benefit.
Can I fly with a cochlear implant?
Yes, although the device may set off metal detectors and cause slight complications with security equipment.
Can a cochlear implant be hidden?
Although there is an external device as part of some cochlear implants, it is designed to be concealed as much as possible behind the ear, where long hair can cover it.
Are cochlear implants reversible?
Cochlear implants are meant to last for a lifetime. You may need replacement or removal if you experience complications later on, however.
Can cochlear cause tinnitus?
Tinnitus can be worsened or occur because of cochlear implants. Your Doctor of Audiology can help you find the right treatments to get relief.
Can the cochlea repair itself?
The tiny hair cells inside the cochlea cannot repair themselves. This means it’s extremely important to protect them against damage from infection, loud noises, and injury.
Can you get a cochlear implant in both ears?
Yes. Cochlear implants placed in both ears can help treat severe bilateral hearing loss.
Can you hear music with a cochlear implant?
Unfortunately, people with cochlear implants may not process musical sounds the same way as the ears naturally do.
Can you sleep with cochlear implant?
No, it is best to remove cochlear implants when sleeping to avoid damaging the device.
Can you take off a cochlear implant?
Yes, you can and should remove the external cochlear implant processor when showering, sleeping, or swimming.
Can you hear normally with a cochlear implant?
Most patients find that sounds are mechanical or robotic at first but continue to improve over time as their brain adjusts to the stimulation.
Do cochlear implants destroy residual hearing?
Cochlear implants will destroy residual hearing in the ear that they are inserted.
Can you shower with a cochlear implant?
No, most cochlear implants are not waterproof, so you should remove the external device when showering.
Do cochlear implants last a lifetime?
Cochlear implants are designed to last a lifetime.
There are two different sound processor wearing options. These are built to fit different lifestyle needs and preferences.
This is an off-the-ear option. The sound information is transferred to the implant just under the skin.
This is the behind-the-ear option. The sound information is transferred to the implant through a coil just under the skin.
Your NYHD specialist will recommend the best cochlear implant type for you based on your personal preferences and lifestyle.
Adults and children with nerve hearing loss can be candidates for cochlear implants. If you or your child get little-to-no benefit from regular hearing aids, then the cochlear implant could be life-changing. To find out how these devices could benefit you, contact the specialists at NYHD to learn more about cochlear implants.
To learn more about cochlear implants and how they could be beneficial contact our Doctors of Audiology at our New York City office. To schedule a consultation, call our office at (212) 774-1971 or fill out our online form.