Hearing aids are indeed the number one go-to instrument of choice when it comes to the majority of people who suffer from some sort of hearing loss. People whose hearing loss can be termed as being severe or those who are even deaf- for these people, cochlear implants happen to be a much better option than hearing aids.
We should mention right from the onset that both these two types of listening assistive things work best on people with hearing loss that is of the sensorineural type of hearing loss. This type of hearing loss is thought to be affecting someone when they have experienced some sort of damage to the hair cells that are present in the inner ear of these people. It can also be due to damage to the nerve pathways that lead to the brain from the inner ear. This type of hearing loss is the most commonly found type of hearing loss in the States.
Cochlear Implants and Hearing Aids: What’s the Difference?
So, what exactly are the differences between the two types of devices? Well, for one thing, cochlear implants normally are implanted by a specialist surgeon with the help of surgery. The way they work is by stimulating the nerves in the auditory system to give off the sensation of sound to those who are severely hard of hearing or are deaf. Hearing aids do not need to be implanted utilizing surgery and they are removable. They are mainly used to amplify sounds for people who have a hearing but whose hearing abilities are limited. They are also taken in and out of the canal of the ear by the user.
What are Hearing Aids?
Both the regular kind of hearing aids and digital hearing aids made for kids are generally small devices that are electronic and are designed specifically to amplify the sounds that are going inside the ear. These devices are normally prescribed by a hearing specialist after a thorough examination has been conducted. These types of hearing aid devices work best for people who are relative to the younger part of the population and those who have hearing issues that can be termed as being moderate.
These days, all of the available digital hearing aids have one microphone at the very least, a chip that amplifies and processes sounds, a battery, and also a speaker. This sound that has been amplified is then sent directly to parts of the inner ear. This is then translated into electronic impulses which the auditory nerve can then transmit to parts of the brain responsible for understanding sounds.
There are mainly two different types of hearing aids and they can be classified into the following two types: behind-the-ear (BTE) and in-the-ear (ITE) models. They are all available in a wide array of styles, sizes, shapes, and colors as well.
What are Cochlear Implants?
These are very sophisticated medical devices that need to be implanted utilizing surgery by a qualified medical professional. These devices work by bypassing the parts of the ear which have been damaged and they directly stimulate the nerves in the inner parts of the ear. It is important to note that these things do not bring back hearing abilities but what they can do instead is to provide a sensation of sound to those who are completely deaf or those who have very severe hearing loss.
These devices have two main parts: An Internal and An External part.
The external part of these devices is responsible for housing a transmitter, speech processor, and also microphone. A small wire is responsible for connecting the speech processor and the microphone to the transmitter. The transmitter is positioned over the receiver and outside the ear.
The internal parts of a cochlear implant have a receiver that is placed underneath the skin and just behind the ear. Then there are also one or more arrays of electrodes that are implanted into the deeper parts of the inner ear.
A magnet is responsible for connecting these two different parts.
The two separate parts of the cochlear implants are connected with the help of a very strong magnet. The sound that is gathered by the microphone and also the speech processor is then sent to the receiver. The receiver is then responsible for converting those sounds into electrical pulses and they then dispatch it to the parts known as the electrodes. These electrodes are then the ones who stimulate the nerves and the brain receives a signal that tells the brain to process the sound it receives.
Before a person can get this type of surgery, they must undergo some particular psychological evaluation, an audiological evaluation, imaging studies, and finally a medical exam.
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