he exciting thing about cochlear implants is that we see people continue to improve over time

Exploring Cochlear Implants for Hearing Enhancement

by | Sep 11, 2023 | Cochlear Implants

A cochlear implant is for someone who no longer receives benefit from traditional hearing aids. If someone is using the best fit hearing aid with the best technology and they still struggle to hear, then they should strongly consider a cochlear implant. We are very fortunate to be able to follow our patients through their entire hearing journey from first getting their hearing tested to cochlear implantation when and if necessary.   

A cochlear implant is an electronic device that bypasses the damaged portions of the inner ear and directly stimulates the inner ear. A portion of the device is surgically placed under the skin behind the ear with an electrode array that goes into the cochlea. There is a processor that is worn on the outside and it magnetically sends the auditory signal to the inside portion of the device that converts the sounds into electrical impulses.  

The exciting thing about cochlear implants is that we see people continue to improve over time. They go from barely functioning with their hearing aids to having normal hearing awareness with a cochlear implant. This is where it is important to understand the difference between hearing and listening/understanding. Just because someone has normal hearing awareness doesn’t mean they can carry on a conversation. It just means that they can hear sounds at normal volume levels. On the audiogram, their hearing thresholds go from the bottom (loud) part of the graph to the upper levels (soft) of the graph.

Over time, and with practice, they can learn how to interpret the electrical impulses they hear and recognize words and environmental sounds. The people who seem to do the best with a cochlear implant are those who have consistently worn hearing aids or those who lost their hearing suddenly. 

We determine if a patient is a candidate for a cochlear implant based on testing with the best fit hearing aid. If the patient meets the criteria, then they are referred to a surgeon to determine if they are a surgical candidate. If so, they come back to our clinic after they have been implanted so that we can activate the device. 

Cochlear Implants
If your hearing aids aren’t alone allowing you to hear as well as you’d like and you’d like to determine whether you’re a candidate for cochlear implants, give us a call at (830) 360-2000 or request a callback. We’re here to help! 

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Dr. Sally Miranda

Dr. Sally Miranda is a trusted audiologist that has dedicated most of her life to audiology and researching innovative ways to serve her patients. She has cared for thousands of ears and is recognized as a leading provider in the region.

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