Cochlear Implants: A Potential Option for Hearing Your Best
With an estimated 20% of Americans ages 12 and older living with hearing loss, per Johns Hopkins researchers, and about 466 million people affected on a global scale, it’s much more prevalent than many may think. In fact, by 2050 one out of every 10 people will be living with disabling hearing loss, according to the World Health Organization’s estimates.
The good news? Most hearing impairment can be effectively managed with solutions such as hearing aids. In the case of profound hearing loss that may not be sufficiently improved with traditional hearing devices, however, cochlear implants might be just what the doctor ordered. Read on for more on these small but powerful devices that could make a big difference in your hearing health.
WHAT ARE COCHLEAR IMPLANTS?
Cochlear implants are small, surgically placed electronic devices comprising an external part behind the ear and an internal part under the skin that together do the work of the damaged inner ear. They can create the sensation of sound when profound hearing loss can’t be sufficiently improved by hearing aids.
HOW DO COCHLEAR IMPLANTS DIFFER FROM HEARING AIDS?
Unlike hearing aids, which process and amplify sound and work in concert with the hair cells in your cochlea or inner ear, cochlear implants bypass hair cells altogether to directly stimulate the hearing nerve. The implants therefore don’t have to rely on potentially damaged hair cells to help you hear.
HOW DO I KNOW IF COCHLEAR IMPLANTS ARE RIGHT FOR ME?
Today’s cutting-edge hearing aids can address a wide range of hearing difficulties, but individuals with more severe hearing challenges might be helped by cochlear implants. An audiologist at our clinic can perform an extensive auditory evaluation to establish whether you’re a potential candidate. If so, they’ll work in collaboration with an otologist — a physician who specializes in ears — to determine if you meet certain health and medical requirements.
FOR YOUR HEARING HEALTH, SOONER IS BETTER
Did you know? Hearing loss not only affects your ability to communicate but can go hand in hand with other problems such as diabetes, depression, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular disease. It can also significantly increase your risk of falls and dementia.
Are you interested in exploring cochlear implants for better hearing? If you think you might be a possible candidate or simply want to learn more about the option, contact our hearing care experts today to schedule an evaluation. We encourage you to bring a companion to your appointment, too. Our caring team is happy to answer your and your loved one’s questions!
Johns Hopkins Medicine. One in Five Americans Has Hearing Loss. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/media/releases/one_in_five_americans_has_hearing_loss. Accessed June 10, 2019. World Health Organization. Deafness and Hearing Loss. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/deafness-and-hearing-loss. Accessed June 10, 2019. National Institutes of Health. Hearing Loss Is Common in People with Diabetes. https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/hearing-loss-common-people-diabetes. Accessed June 10, 2019. Johns Hopkins University | Office of Communications. Hearing Loss Tied to Poorer Physical, Mental Health. https://hub.jhu.edu/gazette/2013/july/news-hearing-loss-and-poor-physical-mental-health/. Accessed June 10, 2019. U.S. National Library of Medicine. Effects of Hypertension on Hearing. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3889339/. Accessed June 10, 2019. The Hearing Journal. Why Cardiovascular Health Should Be Added to the Hearing Case History. https://journals.lww.com/thehearingjournal/fulltext/2014/05000/Why_Cardiovascular_Health_Should_Be_Added_to_the.5.aspx. Accessed June 10, 2019. Johns Hopkins Medicine. Hearing Loss Linked to Three-Fold Risk of Falling. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/media/releases/hearing_loss_linked_to_three_fold_risk_of_falling. Accessed June 10, 2019. Johns Hopkins Medicine. Healthy Aging | Healthy Body | The Hidden Risks of Hearing Loss. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/healthy_aging/healthy_body/the-hidden-risks-of-hearing-loss. Accessed June 10, 2019.