FAQ

A cochlear implant is an effective alternative to hearing aids for adults and children with severe-to-profound greater hearing loss. Unlike hearing aids, which amplify sound, cochlear implants are electronic devices that bypass the damaged part of your inner ear so that you can hear your best.

The cochlear implant technology can help adults and children with severe-to-profound greater hearing loss.

Hearing aids are designed to amplify sound, but often this is not enough to make it any clearer or easier to understand for people with severe-to-profound hearing loss. Cochlear implants on the other hand bypass the damaged part of the ear, sending sound directly to the hearing nerve, where it’s relayed on to the brain. Most cochlear implant recipients demonstrate improvement in their ability to understand speech, even in noisy environments, compared to hearing-aid wearers.

  • Hear better with a cochlear implant than with a hearing aid
  • Over time you can focus better when in noisy environments.
  • Find it easier to have conversations with people across meeting tables, in restaurants and other crowded places.
  • Feel safer in the world as they can hear alarms, people calling out and approaching vehicles.
  • Talk and hear on the phone.
  • Enjoy music.

Every person’s journey to hearing is as unique as the details of every person’s hearing loss. Your or your child’s hearing experience with cochlear implants is dependent upon a number of biological factors, including:

  • How long they have had hearing loss before receiving a cochlear implant
  • How severe their hearing loss is
  • Age at implantation
  • The medical health of the inner ear

Yes. The surgically implanted internal processor is placed underneath the skin, making it waterproof. The external processor traditionally is NOT waterproof and should be removed (similar to a hearing aid). Some currently available models of external processors do have waterproofing options that can be used in the pool, bath or shower. You should discuss these options with your cochlear implant audiologist.

This is a tough question to answer, as it varies for all patients. Initially, the most commonly reported sound qualities are described as:

  • “mechanical”
  • “robotic”
  • “cartoonish”
  • “talking with marbles in their mouth”

Some patients will only “feel” the stimulation when it is first turned on. It is very important to realize this is a process. Over time the sound quality will change as the brain re-learns the stimulation patterns provided by the cochlear implant. For the majority of patients, the sound quality will continually improve over the first six to twelve months.

The simple answer is no. You will likely still have a lot of frustration and difficulty when listening in large groups or noisy situations. However, you may find that over time your ability to communicate in those situations gets easier as you have greater access to information and your brain can ignore some of the noises you don’t want to hear.

No, you can’t.  However, there are certain devices currently available that are FDA approved for MRI strengths up to 1.5 and 3.0 tesla. You should always contact your cochlear implant surgeon to discuss whether your device falls under this approval umbrella. In most cases, a high-resolution CT scan is an adequate substitute, which can be obtained with any cochlear implant at no risk.

Yes, X-rays are fine. Just remove the external equipment.