What is the Difference between a Cochlear Implant and a Hearing Aid?

Although we do not offer cochlear implants, we wanted to explain to you what they are and how they can help people with hearing loss. Cochlear implants and hearing aids both help you hear, but they work in very different ways. Hearing aids amplify sounds so that they can be heard by ears that have damage. Cochlear implants directly stimulate the auditory nerve. They do not try to amplify sounds for the damaged portions of the ear.  Which one is best for you? Read on to find out more and how both hearing aids and cochlear implants work.

About Cochlear Implants

A cochlear implant is a device designed for those who are profoundly deaf or severely hard-of-hearing and helps provide a sense of sound. Cochlear implants have an external portion that sits behind the ear and a component that is surgically placed under the skin. It provides a useful representation of sounds and can help the user understand speech; but it does not restore normal hearing.

Cochlear implants include:

  • A microphone that picks up environmental sounds.
  • A speech processor that selects sounds picked up by the microphone and arranges them.
  • A transmitter and receiver/stimulator that receives signals from the speech processor and then converts them into electric impulses.
  • An electrode array which collects the impulses from the stimulator and sends them to different regions of the auditory nerve.

Cochlear implants must be surgically attached by a physician, usually an Ear-Nose-Throat specialist and then calibrated, often by an audiologist.

Hearing Aids and How they Work

Hearing aids are small electronic devices that are worn behind the ear or inside the ear canal. They send amplify sound to the inner canal so that inner ear and eardrum can capture the sound waves and deliver the message to the brain.

Types of hearing aids

There are many different types of hearing aids available to fit your individual needs and budget. Hearing aids have 5 basic components:

  1. Microphones
  2. An amplifier
  3. A loudspeaker
  4. A battery
  5. A computer chip programmed by a hearing care professional to match your individual hearing needs.

What is right for you?

Our office is happy to discuss your options for hearing aids. If you are a candidate for a cochlear implant, we are happy to refer you to an ENT.

Concerned about your hearing? Give us a call at 360-892-9367 and change your life.

At Audiology Clinic we understand how important hearing is to the entire family. And we are committed to yours. Contact us today and schedule an appointment.

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