A cochlear implant is a small electronic device that is designed to help individuals with moderately-severe to profound sensorineural (inner ear) hearing loss. Though it will not return an individual’s hearing ability, the implant provides sufficient assistance to understand speech in conversation and on the telephone.
Hearing loss can arise at any age. Hearing loss can be inherited or brought on by a malformed inner ear at birth, tumors, head trauma, noise exposure, exposure to certain medications, autoimmune disease of the inner ear, viruses or other diseases.
Until recently, only one type of cochlear implant was available and prescribed to those who were completely deaf or experienced extreme hearing loss. There are now two options, as follows.
A standard cochlear implant is for those with very severe hearing loss or hearing loss that is equally spread amongst high and low sounds. The device includes a handful of parts: a microphone, sound processor, transmitter, receiver/stimulator and an electrode array (group of electrodes). During implantation, only two parts are actually embedded into the patient: the receiver, which is implanted in the skin behind the ear, and the electrodes, which are implanted in the inner ear. The other parts — the microphone, transmitter and processor — are placed externally, behind the ear.
A hybrid cochlear implant device is for people who can hear low-pitched sounds, but struggle with hearing high-pitched sounds, and do not hear clearly with a hearing aid. This implant has all the same parts as the typical cochlear implant, and also includes a hearing aid incorporated into the implant processor. The hybrid electrodes are installed on the base of the inner ear, where high-frequency sound hearing is located.
Prior to cochlear implantation, an individual must undergo multiple tests to determine the extent of hearing loss. If hearing is not clear with hearing aids, or if hearing aids cannot be turned up loudly enough for the patient to hear with them, a cochlear implant may be recommended. Because the individual who receives a cochlear implant must learn how to hear with an implant, speech-language pathologists and audiologists are essential to optimal results. Fortunately, these and other otolaryngology specialists are readily available at Temple Health.
Why Temple Health?
For years, those seeking a new lease on hearing have turned to Temple Health’s Head & Neck Institute. With board-certified and fellowship-trained physicians and a range of other hearing experts who provide personalized care and the latest advances in hearing healthcare.
Temple Health relies upon a multidisciplinary team of specialists, which collaborates to specifically manage deafness and hearing loss. Through this team approach, we achieve optimal treatment for hearing loss for our patients.