Hearing aids are a boon to millions of Americans with hearing loss. But as well as they perform, they do have their limitations. They won’t work for all types of hearing loss, and some people find them too uncomfortable to wear or complain of the “occlusion effect” they produce in the ear.
They must be cleaned frequently, their batteries need replacing on a regular basis constant exposure to heat, humidity and earwax buildup in the ear canal makes them prone to damage. For some individuals, implantable hearing devices might be the key to improved communication.
Implantable hearing devices are surgically implanted instruments designed to improve the transmission of sound vibrations by directly stimulating the bones of the middle ear.
There are several different types of implantable hearing devices; these include cochlear implants, bone anchored hearing aids and auditory brainstem implants.
Types of Implantable Hearing Devices
Implantable hearing devices work by stimulating the bones of the middle ear (ossicles) rather than amplifying sounds in the ear canal. This strengthens sound vibrations in the inner ear, and enables those with sensorineural hearing loss to be able to communicate.
Implantable hearing devices are less prone to feedback issues that can bedevil those who wear hearing aids, and some devices can be kept in place while a patient bathes and exercises.
Cochlear implants are surgically implanted devices recommended for patients who are severely hearing impaired or deaf and don’t benefit from hearing aids. They bypass the damaged inner ear and directly stimulate the auditory nerve, allowing you to perceive sound. Cochlear implants have an internal and external component. They are different from hearing aids and are only suitable for some patients. Those considering a cochlear implant should make sure their pneumococcal vaccines are up to date. For more information on these requirements visit the CDC’s website.
Bone-anchored hearing aids are surgically implanted devices that bypass the outer and middle ear and rely on direct bone conduction to transmit sound. They comprise a titanium implant, an external abutment and a sound processor that work in tandem. They are ideal for patients with conductive or mixed hearing loss as well as those with single-sided impairment or deafness.
Call Camino Ear, Nose & Throat Clinic at (408) 227-6300 for more information or to schedule an appointment.