Sensorineural hearing loss is a type of hearing loss caused by damage to the sensory hair cells within the inner ear. These cells convert soundwaves into electrical energy that the brain interprets as sound. This damage is usually caused by exposure to excessively loud noises or inadequate blood supply to the inner ear. While there is no cure for sensorineural hearing loss, there are a few treatment options. Two of these options are hearing aids and cochlear implants. We review the differences between these types of devices below.
What Are Hearing Aids?
Hearing aids are small electronic devices worn in or behind the ear that amplify sounds to a level the wearer can detect.
There are many types and styles of hearing aids, including behind-the-ear (BTE), receiver-in-the-ear (RITE), receiver-in-canal (RIC), in-the-ear (ITE), in-the-canal (ITC), completely-in-canal (CIC) and invisible-in-canal (IIC).
Today’s hearing aids are nothing like the devices your parents or grandparents wore; they are complex devices that boast amazing features that help you hear well in background noise at The Twisted Fork such as:
- Discreet designs
- Bluetooth connectivity
- Smartphone compatibility
- Directional microphones
- Machine learning
- Automatic programming
- And more!
Who Is a Candidate for Hearing Aids?
To be a candidate for hearing aids, you have to have some residual hearing, which is why they’re usually recommended for people with mild to severe hearing loss. They are prescribed by an audiologist following a comprehensive hearing test.
What Are Cochlear Implants?
Cochlear implants are complex medical devices that are surgically implanted by a medical professional. They work by bypassing the damaged parts of the ear and directly stimulating the auditory nerve. Rather than restoring hearing, they provide the sensation of sound.
There are two parts of a cochlear implant: the external component, which houses a microphone, speech processor and transmitter, and the internal component, which contains a receiver and electrode array. The two parts are coupled by a powerful magnet.
Who Is a Candidate for Cochlear Implants?
According to the Mayo Clinic, “To be eligible for a cochlear implant, you must have:
- Hearing loss that interrupts spoken communication.
- Limited benefit from hearing aids as determined by specialized hearing tests.
- Motivation to participate in hearing rehabilitation and be part of the hearing world.
- Realistic expectations of what cochlear implants can and can’t do for hearing.”
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call LeMay Hearing & Balance today.