Cochlear Implants. While hearing aids are the most commonly used solution for people with
hearing loss, some people are better served by cochlear implants. Because I
don’t sell or service cochlear implants my knowledge is through reading and
discussions with other professionals and some implant patients I have known. I
chose this topic because it is an important option for the severely hearing
impaired and it is important for us all to learn about solutions we may not know
even existed. Cochlear implants are complex medical devices that work
differently than hearing aids. Rather than amplifying sound—which helps a
person with residual hearing ability—a cochlear implant provides the sense of
sound by stimulating the auditory nerve directly. Cochlear implants do not cure
hearing loss or restore hearing, but they do provide an opportunity for the
severely hard of hearing or deaf to perceive the sensation of sound by
bypassing the damaged inner ear. Unlike hearing aids, they require surgical
insertion into the back of the head. Cochlear implants are the last option to
help people hear that can get no benefit from hearing aids. Candidates range
from young children to adults. A cochlear implant operates using two main
components: An external part that hooks over the ear or that's worn off the ear
(on the head), and a surgically implanted internal part. The two components
are connected using a powerful magnet. The external component of a cochlear
implant contains a microphone, a speech processor and a transmitter. The
microphone and speech processor are housed in a small unit that looks like a
behind-the-ear hearing aid on most models. Others are worn on the head. A
small wire usually links them to the transmitter, which is positioned over the
internal part of the device. The microphone picks up acoustic sounds and
sends it to the speech processor. The processor analyzes and digitizes the
signal before sending it to the transmitter. The transmitter then codes the
signals and sends them to the implanted receiver through the magnetic
coupling. The internal part of a cochlear implant includes a receiver, which is
located under the skin on the temporal bone, and one or more electrodes . The
receiver collects the signals from the transmitter and converts them to
electrical pulses. It then sends the pulses to the electrodes that have been
inserted deeply into the inner ear. These electrodes directly stimulate the
auditory nerve throughout a portion of the cochlea and the brain then interprets
these signals as sound. To determine if you or a loved one is eligible for an
implant, you will first need to undergo audiological and psychological testing, a
medical exam and imaging studies. You also may receive counseling to make
sure you understand the large follow-up commitment required after the implant
surgery, as well as what to expect regarding device performance and
limitations. If you or a family member is very severely hearing impaired you
should begin your investigation about cochlear implants at the office of an Ear,
 Nose, and Throat doctor. There are excellent ENTs in Williamsport and State
College. Geisinger now staffs ENT services at their new Spring Street facility in
Lock Haven.

All of the hearing aid dispensers in the area could do an initial hearing test to
determine if your hearing loss was bad enough to even consider the cochlear
implant option. Each of us can refer to an ENT and most of us do not charge
for the hearing test. In many cases, cochlear implants are covered
by Medicare or Medicaid and many private and commercial insurers.
Coverage can vary widely, and patients may still be responsible for significant
out-of-pocket costs. Most surgeons who perform cochlear implants have
dedicated insurance experts on staff who can help patients understand and
navigate individual plans and answer questions. Cochlear implants may
require a prior authorization in order for insurance to pick up the tab because
of the $50,000 to $70,000 price range for the device and surgery. If you
struggle to hear properly call a hearing professional.

Share This Article

Previous Article

May 17, 2022 • 12:31PM

Next Article

July 10, 2022 • 3:15PM


No topics.

From Our Blog