Cochlear Implants

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Not all deaf people have the same hearing loss. Some may be profoundly deaf, while others may just suffer from mild to moderate hearing impairment. A cochlear implant is not a cure for these people, but it can help them regain their ability to hear sounds and speak in an easier way than they could with a hearing aid.

Deafness is a common condition that affects millions of people. While hearing aids can help, they don't restore normal hearing.

A cochlear implant may be able to give you back the ability to hear and understand speech by stimulating your auditory nerve with electrical impulses.
The surgery requires only one or two small incisions behind the ear and takes about an hour to perform. Afterward, you'll need some time for recovery before starting therapy, which will teach your brain how to interpret sounds it's never heard before.

Cochlear Implant vs Hearing Aid

A cochlear implant is a device that can help someone with hearing loss restore or improve the ability to hear and understand speech. Hearing aids are not always enough, so if you struggle with understanding people even when wearing hearing aids, you may want to consider another viable option in the form of a cochlear implant.

Cochlear implants are often a next solution for our patients, when their hearing aids are not providing enough assistance. Many people start by wearing two hearing aids. However, as hearing loss progresses, you may need something more. To improve your hearing  performance and help you understand more clearly, you may need to consider a solution that helps you hear your best with both ears.

For many, a cochlear implant in one ear and a hearing aid in the other can provide a richer more natural hearing experience.  This combination is referred to as Bimodal Hearing.  As a member of the Cochlear Provider Network, Ontario Hearing Centers works with local surgeons to assess and treat those who may be candidates for a hearing implant. We conduct candidacy evaluations to determine if an implant might be right for you. We also support recipients of cochlear implants by meeting their needs for initial activation, interim programming, troubleshooting, upgrades, and even equipment orientation.

Signs that Hearing Aids may not be Enough

While wearing hearing aids, do you:
• Have difficulty hearing conversations, especially with background noise?
• Often ask people to repeat them selves?
• Often misunderstand what people say?
• Have trouble hearing on the telephone?
• Turn up the volume on the TV louder than others in the room prefer?
• Feel people often mumble when they talk?
• Struggle to hear sounds of nature such as birds chirping or rain falling?
• Find yourself agreeing, smiling or nodding during conversations when you’re not sure what’s been said?
• Regularly withdraw from conversations because it’s too difficult to hear?
• Read lips to understand what people are saying?

If you are still struggling to hear, even with properly fit hearing aids,
talk to your audiologist about Cochlear Implants.

How Cochlear Implants Work

Cochlear implants are designed to mimic the function of a healthy inner ear.  They replace the function of damaged sensory hair cells inside the inner ear to help provide clearer sound than what hearing aids can provide. There are two primary components.

1.  The external sound processor

2.  The implant which is surgically placed underneath the skin and attached to an electrode array that's inserted in the inner ear (cochlea).

Together, these parts bypass the part of the ear that isn’t working, sending sound straight to the hearing nerve.

Cochlear Implants for Children

Cochlear implants are a common solution for children who have hearing disabilities at such a young age. 

This allows their speech comprehension to grow during the early developmental window. 

Not only does this allow them to communicate with others, but it also stimulates brain growth which aids in language comprehension.

Another Chance to Hear

Losing your hearing at an old age can be scary, but with the help of technology, you can still enjoy life and communicate with others. 

Adults who lose their hearing later in life can greatly benefit from cochlear implants and find it easier to learn how to adjust to the cochlear implant sounds those they remember. This include srecognizing speech, without relying on any visual cues such as those provided by sign language or lip-reading.

Step-by-Step Process
to your Cochlear Implant

1.  Audio​logical Evaluation

For a complete evaluation, make an appointment with Ontario Hearing Centers.  Our audiologist will do a simple Hearing Aid Check.  They will compare your performance with hearing aids to people with a cochlear implant and reveal your best option for better hearing.

2.  Referral to Surgeon

If cochlear implants are the best option for your hearing, you will be referred to a surgeon who can implant the necessary cochlear device.  You can ask questions about the surgical procedure and recovery process. 

3.  Surgery

Cochlear implant surgery takes two to four hours. It is completed under general anesthesia in a hospital or clinic. The surgeon implants electrodes into the cochlea, and an electronic device called the receiver under the skin behind the ear.

4.  Programming and Consult

Following cochlear surgery, the patient returns to Ontario Hearing Centers for follow-up.  Your audiologist will adjust and fine tune the sound processor's programs to help ensure optimal hearing.

Frequently Asked Questions about Cochlear Implants

How does a cochlear implant work?

Cochlear implants work differently compared with other kinds of assistive technologies that help someone who has lost his or her  sense of sound like bone-anchored devices and auditory brainstem implants. The latter two require surgery on both ears before any improvement can take place, whereas cochlear implants only need one operation in each ear for patients to start experiencing better sound quality.

Imagine you're in a world that's completely alien to you. You can't hear anything, the people around you look like they're talking but no sound is coming out of their mouths. All you have are shapes and shadows--until one day something clicks and suddenly your brain starts processing all this input it wasn't able to before.

The cochlear implant bypasses damaged portions of the ear and stimulates auditory nerves directly, which may not produce sounds in an understandable way at first, but over time trains your brain to process sound again.  

It is often said that people who have lost their hearing experience the world differently. They are unable to engage with natural sounds and the conversations of those around them as they once did. However, this all changes with a cochlear implant; it bypasses damaged portions of the ear and stimulates auditory nerves directly, giving people abilities they never had before. It may take time for an individual to adjust to these new sensations - after all, he or she has likely spent years without sound - but over time, the cochlear implant will help train his or her brain again so that it can process sound like normal.

If you are interested in learning more about cochlear implants, please contact us today at Ontario Hearing Center, Rochester, NY.

Who can get a cochlear implant?

For people who can't hear well or not hear at all even with hearing aids, cochlear implants may just be a life-changing option. While the process is not always easy (transmitting sound never matches up with how it sounds in real life), cochlear implants offer hope to those who want to pick out new sounds and not just lipread.

The process of being fitted for and using one may not be easy, but it's worth it to regain your sense of sound. Although these devices never provide a perfect replication or representation of how things sound in real life, they come close enough to make every day tasks possible again. It might take time to learn how to recognize new sounds you've never heard before but the cochlear implant has made countless people's lives better than ever before.

How does someone receive a cochlear implant?

The selection of a cochlear implant can be an overwhelming decision for some. One thing to consider is that, although the surgery comes with risks and can have complications, the benefits outweigh them. A cochlear implant can improve speech recognition and communication skills which can provide individuals the opportunity to enjoy a more fulfilling life.

Many people have difficulty adapting to the prosthetic device, but it is worth considering when there are many benefits such as improved speech recognition and communication skills. The decision should involve discussions with medical specialists and cost considerations which can vary depending on the type of cochlear implant.

Can you use a cochlear implant for moderate hearing loss?

The biggest advantage of having an implanted prosthetic is that it allows for the wearer to enjoy both natural and artificial sounds without feeling any pressure or discomfort. These devices are often paired alongside hearing aids which can amplify sound for wearers so they don't feel left out of conversations and group events.

A new and astonishing breakthrough in the medical field has been made to help those experiencing hearing loss. There are now devices that can be implanted into one ear while still allowing someone to hear sound through their other ear. This means they can have artificial hearing on one side of their head, while having normal hearing on the other. For those who already experience severely diminished hearing, this technique won't work; they need a fully-implanted device in order for it to be as effective as possible.

Cochlear Implants - Rochester, NY

Proud Member of the Cochlear Provider Network

If you're interested in or want to learn more about cochlear implants, we offer consultation services at Ontario Hearing Center. The road to deafness is paved with a lack of early intervention. The sooner you intervene, the better your chances will be for improvement.

For those who are not sufficiently helped by hearing aids or have very poor clarity, a cochlear implant may just be the best option. To know more about cochlear implants, give us a visit at Ontario Hearing Center. We have two clinics located in Brighton and Gates. Our audiologists will be more than happy to give you an honest and reliable assessment.

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