A Hearing Implant solution for severe and profound hearing loss
Cochlear Implants might be a suitable option for people experiencing significant hearing difficulty. This hearing difficulty occurs despite using traditional amplification devices such as hearing aids or assistive listening devices.
The hearing implant is an electronic medical device that replaces the function of the damaged hair cells in the cochlea. Standard hearing aids make sounds louder. However, an implant in the cochlea will directly stimulate the auditory nerve. This means the implant will work on the damaged structure to provide sound signals to the brain. It also provides a long-term, stable hearing outcome.
How a cochlear implant works
It is an intricate and tiny electronic device that can enable a person with severe to profound hearing loss or who is very hard of hearing to gain a sensation of sound by directly stimulating the structures of the inner ear.
An exterior sound processor of the hearing implant rests behind the ear, while a second part is surgically implanted beneath the skin. During an outpatient procedure, the internal portion is implanted beneath the skin behind the ear. The cochlea, part of the inner ear, is reached by a thin cable and several tiny electrodes. The wire transmits impulses directly to the nerve, which transmits sound information to the brain, resulting in a sensation of sound. An individual with limited speech processing ability is likely to be able to understand speech even with minor background noise.
Cochlear implants are made up of several intricate components. Firstly, a high-quality microphone that accurately picks up surrounding sounds works with a speech processor that picks and organises sounds captured by the cochlear implant. A transmitter and receiver will then receive speech-processing signals and transform them into electric impulses. An electrode array is a final step wherein electrodes that gather stimulator impulses will transmit the impulses to various parts of the cochlear nerve.
Although normal hearing cannot be restored, a cochlear implant can enhance hearing with the right rehabilitation and practice. This will lead to a greater awareness of sounds and improved communication.
You may benefit from these hearing implants if, when wearing hearing aids, you
- Often ask people to repeat themselves
- You find it difficult to follow a group conversation and avoid social situations
- You struggle to understand what is being said if people do not face you while talking
Researchers at Ear Science Institute Australia, Curtin University and UWA are investigating new treatments for hearing loss
1 in 6 Australians live with hearing loss, and we are investigating your experience living with hearing loss or supporting someone with hearing loss to better understand your needs.
Supported by the CSIRO On Prime program, we invite you to participate in this research project and participate in a 15-minute phone or video interview with the research team.
You will be asked a series of questions related to your life with hearing loss or how you support a person living with hearing loss.
Join us in finding new treatments for today.
Cochlear Implant candidacy in Australia
Any person with a moderately severe to profound hearing loss of a sensorineural nature (in the inner ear or cochlear) in one or both ears might be a possible candidate for cochlear implant surgery.
In most cases, the person must have trialled hearing aids unless the hearing loss is severe enough not to be fitted with a hearing aid. There is no lower or upper age limit. An audiological and medical assessment will review the integrity of the auditory nerve, basilar membrane and other structures. Expectations will then be discussed, depending on the hearing and amplification history provided during the assessment.
What’s involved in the implantation procedure?
To review possible candidacy, we require a recent audiogram. A summary of the hearing and amplification history should be provided. Once our clinic has received this information, we can book an appropriate appointment. The next step should hopefully be getting you scheduled for cochlear implant surgery.
During this appointment, amplification devices will assess your hearing, and the results will be discussed. We will recommend ensuring that you receive the best possible hearing outcome. If you are a suitable candidate for the hearing implant, you will be referred for a medical review.
If you are not a suitable candidate, other recommendations will be provided to address your hearing concerns.
Expected hearing benefits
Hearing through a cochlear implant is different from hearing through a hearing aid.
These devices are life-changing for many of our clients. How well you do with an implant can depend on many things, everyone is different. Our research shows that most adult implant recipients report significantly improved hearing in quiet and noise. People with many types of hearing loss could benefit from a cochlear implant.
Cochlear implant costs can vary, but maintaining them is inexpensive once installed. You also don’t have to worry about big components sticking out or being visible to the people around you. Cochlear implants are sometimes called ‘invisible’ due to how small the components are and how well they can blend with hair.
Talk to someone who knows.
Ear Science Implant Clinic offers a mentor program. This allows you to speak with someone who understands your feelings and has been through the hearing implant journey.
Our Mentors are kind, caring people who are happy to volunteer their time and share their experiences to support you.