There is no such thing as an acceptable loss when it comes to your hearing, especially when it impacts your communication in the most important areas of your life: home, work, place of worship, and even at play. If you are at the point where hearing aids are not providing you much benefit, Grace Hearing and Language Services can tell you how a cochlear implant may be the solution. Dr. Wilson can help you by performing a COCHLEAR IMPLANT EVALUATION to determine if you qualify audiologically for a cochlear implant. If you are determined a cochlear implant candidate, then your exam results will be forwarded to a cochlear implant surgeon, who will determine if you are a medical candidate for the surgical procedure.
If you are approved for the surgery by the CI surgeon, then your case will be submitted to your insurance company for authorization. Once authorization is approved, the CI surgeon will schedule you for pre-operation testing and ultimately the surgery, if all pre-op testing clears.
A cochlear implant is comprised of internal and external components. The microphone and speech processor are the external components, with the microphone located on the ear and the processor placed immediately behind the ear. The processor is fixed onto the transmitter implanted beneath the skin. Another internal component is the decoder placed in the inner ear.
Sound is transmitted directly to inner ear.
A cochlear implant takes over the function of the damaged cochlear in the ear, in which some of the vital hair cells are missing. The implant converts speech and surrounding sounds into electrical signals and sends these signals to the hearing nerve in the inner ear. On their way, the signals pass the damaged part of the hearing system. These signals are recognized as sounds by the brain.
Approximately one month after surgery the speech processor is connected and the user will begin to perceive sound. The last part of the implant process is rehabilitation during which the patient receives auditory training and learns different communication techniques. It takes time, practice and patience to learn how to use a cochlea implant.
The benefits will vary from one person to another. However, after some time, about 50% of the patients are able to manage a normal job. Eighty% will be able to conduct a telephone conversation. Compared to hearing aids, individuals with CIs report significantly improved speech understanding, better pitch discrimination, and music appreciation.
Children and Cochlear Implants
Many children may also benefit significantly from cochlea implants. The child’s young age and communication skills prior to implantation are important factors for a successful outcome.
Electric Acoustic Stimulation (EAS)
Some users may benefit from an electric acoustic stimulation (EAS), which is the use of a hearing aid with a cochlea implant together in the same ear. The hearing aid acoustically amplifies low frequencies, while the cochlear implant electrically stimulates the middle and high frequencies. The inner ear processes acoustic and electric stimuli simultaneously.
With bimodal stimulation, the CI is in one ear and the hearing aid is in the opposite ear. Wearing a CI in each ear instead of one ear has the same benefits as having two ears:
- Superior sound quality
- Sound source localization (spatial sense of the direction sounds come from)
- Better speech recognition in noise
- Music appreciation
”With two ears, the brain can use the auditory information from each ear to compare and process sound. With only one ear, children find learning very difficult because they tend to miss information among the constant buzz of the classroom and playground.”
Dr. Julia Sarant from the University of Melbourne’s Department of Audiology and Speech Pathology