Cochlear implants treat severe to profound hearing loss in patients with sensorineural (inner ear-related) hearing loss. A trained physician surgically implants the devices, which bypass the problematic areas in the ear by directly stimulating the auditory nerve and sending signals straight to the brain.
A cochlear implant works differently than a hearing aid. Hearing aids amplify sounds so that a person with nerve damage can hear more clearly. Cochlear implants generate an electrical signal that the brain interprets as sound. While a cochlear implant does not cure deafness or restore normal hearing, it does allow a patient to perceive sound and can help them converse again.
To determine whether you are a candidate for cochlear implants, you’ll have to meet a specific list of criteria. If you are experiencing severe to profound sensorineural hearing loss (the result of nerve damage to the inner ear) and can’t benefit from conventional hearing aids, you are a prime candidate for cochlear implants.
Although these implants are most helpful in patients with solid language and communication skills and a hearing loss that occurs later in life, younger children (typically between the ages of one and six) also benefit, as a cochlear implant exposes them to sounds during their formative learning years while they are developing speech and language skills. Post-implantation therapy is a crucial component in the success of cochlear implants; learning to use them correctly takes time and effort.
If you are interested in finding out if you’re a candidate for cochlear implants, ask your primary care provider for a referral. Contact an audiologist at Fort HealthCare Audiology at 920.563.6667 in Fort Atkinson or 262.473.8920 in Whitewater to learn more about cochlear implants, get help with your hearing or schedule a complimentary hearing screening.