What is a Cochlear Implant?

A cochlear implant is a surgically implanted device that can help people with severe hearing loss hear.  There is a device that sits outside of the head that functions similar to a hearing aid. It picks up sound from a microphone and processes that sound. Different from a hearing aid, a cochlear implant also has a portion that is implanted in the inner ear and under the skull.  The outside portion (processor), sends electrical signals through the skull, which then stimulates the inner ear, or cochlea, directly.   

The advantage to this design, is it can bypass any damage to the inner ear, and stimulate the nerve directly.  Cochlear implants are not for everyone, and patients must meet strict guidelines to qualify.  These devices are reserved for patients whose hearing loss is so severe they can no longer effectively communicate with hearing aids.  Hearing aids are always tried first, to make sure there are no other options.  Since cochlear implants require surgery, and cannot be reversed, it is a serious decision to make. It takes time and practice re-learning how to hear with a cochlear implant, so patients must be dedicated to the process. 

Gardner Audiology in Tampa Bay, florida  has the ability to counsel if a cochlear implant may be a possible next step for patients, and can provide referrals to point you in the right direction.  To schedule an appointment, contact Gardner Audiology at 800-277-1182 or info@gardneraudiology.com  

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