Cochlear Implants


Cochlear Implants

Silicon Valley’s Cochlear Implant Specialists

For many with hearing loss, hearing aids are the best solution to overcoming their hearing challenges so they can continue an active and independent lifestyle. However, when hearing aids are not sufficient, our cochlear implant doctor at Pacific Hearing Service can provide an alternative solution with cochlear implants. For some, hearing aids just aren’t enough, which is why hearing care professionals look to electronic implants for an alternative solution.

Cochlear implants, whether in one ear (unilateral) or both ears (bilateral), are designed to help improve hearing clarity, elevate speech, and enhance language processing capabilities in individuals of all ages, from six-month-olds to those well into their 80s and 90s.

Pacific Hearing Service, in partnership with Stanford Healthcare’s cochlear implant center, offers cochlear implants near you in Menlo Park or Los Altos, California, providing the Silicon Valley with advanced cochlear implant technology for improving communication and hearing clarity.

Though hearing implant technology has been around since the 1970s, most people don’t fully understand what cochlear hearing implants are and how they help improve hearing.

Audiologist fitting the external part of cochlear implant device at Pacific Hearing Service
Cochlear hearing implant on a table

What Are Cochlear Implants?

Understanding how the inner ear functions is the key to understanding what cochlear implants are and how they work.

The cochlea, located in the inner ear, has hair cells that receive sound from the outer and middle ear, change them into sound signals, and then transmit them to the brain via the auditory nerve, where they are interpreted as meaningful sound. Damage to the hair cells leads to permanent sensorineural hearing loss, which is usually addressed by hearing aids.

When the damage in the cochlea is so extensive or sound does not make it to the inner ear due to conductive hearing loss issues, a cochlear implant bypasses the damaged sound pathway to assist with the production and transmission of electrical impulses (sound signals) directly to the auditory nerve.

Cochlear implants include two components: a processor worn behind the ear that is similar in appearance to a behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aid, and an internal electrode that requires cochlear implant surgery to insert it into the cochlea. The BTE processor receives and processes the sounds around you and then transmits the sound signals to the implanted electrode, which sends the electrical impulses to the brain.

Cochlear implants were cutting-edge technology in the 1970s when they first received FDA approval, but thanks to breakthroughs in digital technology, the capabilities of today’s cochlear implants far exceed what was possible with those early devices.

Whether used in conjunction with hearing aids or as an alternative solution, cochlear implants are an advanced tool used to overcome various hearing loss challenges for children and adults that hearing aids alone cannot.

10 Facts About Cochlear Hearing Implants

#1 - Cochlear Implants Improve Sound for the Young and Old A like

It’s a common misconception that only young people benefit from cochlear implants (CIs), but there’s no upper age limit, and CIs help both children and adults. Studies even show that older hearing implant recipients have significant improvements in speech perception.

#2 - Electronic Implants Without Brain Surgery

Contrary to what many think, brain surgery is not involved in getting an electronic implant. The implant itself sits under the skin behind the ear and an electrode is inserted into the cochlea, which is in the inner ear. The surgeon doesn’t need to go near your brain at all.

#3 - Cochlear Implants and MRI Compatibility

A common misconception associated with cochlear implants is that you cannot have an MRI if you wear them, but modern multi-channel hearing implants allow for the use of diagnostic MRIs at 1.5 Tesla, while some magnet-style cochlear implants even allow for MRIs at up to 3.0 Tesla.

#4 - How Modern Cochlear Implants Safeguard Residual Hearing Abilities

Contrary to various myths about cochlear implants, CIs do not destroy whatever hearing you have left. In fact, today’s cochlear implants have soft and flexible electrodes designed to preserve delicate inner ear structures and, in combination with ever-improving surgical techniques, help maintain residual hearing.

#5 - Cochlear Implant Users Dive into Aquatic Leisure with Confidence

Those who use electronic implants can shower, enjoy a sauna or hot tub, or go swimming, as the implant itself sits under skin and is protected from water. However, the exterior processor must be removed or be covered by waterproof material before being submerged in water, as most are only splashproof.

#6 - Cochlear Implant Users Revel in Music Appreciation and Performance

Cochlear implant users are able to enjoy listening to music, and many are even talented musicians, though rehabilitation and practice are an essential part of being able to get the most out of music when using a hearing implant.

#7 - Cochlear Implant Users Safely Coexist with Wireless Technology

Also contrary to some misconceptions about cochlear implants, Wi-Fi devices don’t affect electronic implants or their audio processors, so you don’t need to worry about being near them.

#8 - Embracing the Future with Cochlear Implant Technology Advancements

The implanted electrode component of an electronic implant is designed for a long service life and usually doesn’t need to be replaced for decades. However, because digital technology is advancing at such a rapid pace, most people upgrade the external audio processor every few years in order to take advantage of the latest technology.

#9 - Effortless Air Travel for Cochlear Implant Users Amid Airport Security

Issues with flying is another common misconception associated with cochlear implants, but flying with a cochlear implant is not a problem. Alerting airport security that you wear an implant is a good idea because they can set off security scanners.

#10 - Understanding the Post-Implantation Process for Cochlear Implants

Cochlear implants aren’t an instant fix for your hearing challenges. After your CI is implanted, implant activation does not occur for a few weeks after surgery, and it will take weeks of rehabilitation and practice to learn to hear with a hearing implant.

Man wearing a cochlear implant

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Get More Information About Cochlear Implants from Our Cochlear Implant Doctor

When a hearing test shows severe to profound hearing loss and hearing aids just aren’t enough to improve hearing or assist with speech and language development, audiologists turn to electronic implants as an alternative solution for those with advanced levels of hearing loss. Our audiologists at Pacific Hearing Service in Menlo Park and Los Altos use cochlear implants as an advanced tool for helping improve the hearing and quality of life for those in Silicon Valley who qualify for them.

If you want more information about cochlear implants or whether you qualify for them, complete and submit the adjacent form and a member of our team will contact you.

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