If you are suffering from severe hearing loss, your doctors may recommend getting a hearing implant. Here are some crucial facts about cochlear implants.
1. They Don’t Just Amplify Sound, They Process It
First, it’s important to clarify the difference between hearing aids and hearing implants.
A hearing aid amplifies sound, which is great for people whose hair cells have become less receptive to soft noises.
But a hearing implant does more than that. It has three main parts: an external microphone, an external sound processor and an internal receiver.
Once the microphone has picked up a sound, the sound processor converts it to a series of electric impulses. This part is connected to a receiver, which is surgically implanted in your inner ear. The receiver contains electrodes that stimulate your nerves.
In short, your hearing implant converts sound to signals that are sent to your brain. One of the most significant facts about cochlear implants is that they can help you even if you have nerve damage.
2. They Come with Risks
It is important to remember that cochlear implants damage your residual hearing. This is why people with mild or moderate hearing loss should go with hearing aids instead.
The surgery is usually safe, but children can be at risk of meningitis.
You should also take into account that your device could stop working over time. In this case, you might need another surgery to replace the receiver.
3. They Can’t Restore Normal Hearing, But They Can Improve Your Quality of Life
Before surgery, your doctors will ask you to show that you understand the main facts about cochlear implants. You need to have realistic expectations.
Cochlear implants can’t easily filter out unwanted noise. Thus, most users still need to go through extensive training before they can follow conversations. They might have to read lips as well.
Despite the issues and the risks, most people who use cochlear implants are happy with their choice. It makes communication much easier, and it also helps you moderate the volume of your own voice. In many cases, you will be able to use a phone again, too.
Children with hearing loss who get cochlear implants before the age of three will learn speech a lot more easily. It helps their cognitive development too.