Hearing Aids vs Cochlear Implants

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Both hearing aids and cochlear implants provide great services to people with hearing loss. These incredible pieces of technology have an impressive ability to help them by delivering louder, crisper, and cleaner sounds. They eradicate hearing issues of people and instill confidence in them to engage with people that save them from isolation and improve their mental health too as a result.

So in simple words, both these devices help people with hearing problems to live life to the fullest. And they have many differences and similarities between them. So to determine which one is better for you, you need to know exactly what they are and how they function. After doing so you can choose one of them for yourself if you need help with your hearing, and they can help you accordingly. So, at first, let’s see exactly what these devices are.

Overview of Hearing Aids

Hearing aids mainly change sounds to help people with hearing loss to hear better. They amplify sound and make it louder or sharper so that individuals can better understand different sounds. While doing so, hearing aids also simultaneously lessen the impact of background noise to help crystallize more important sounds. 

Hearing aids have evolved to a more digital form over time and many additional features have been added to improve the hearing of the users. Digital hearing aids work by transforming sound into streams of code that then get amplified and sent into the ears of the users, whilst reducing background noises.

There are different types of hearing aids, which include the ones that sit behind the ear and are placed inside the ear canal manually. Hearing aids are suitable for people with minor to moderate levels of hearing loss. Hearing loss of these levels might have been facilitated by injury, illness, or aging. In general, hearing aids are more common among people than cochlear implants.

Overview of Cochlear Implants

Cochlear implants have multiple components that can aid people with severe hearing loss. They are used where hearing aids would not be strong enough to help out. Behind the ear and outside a piece will sit that consists of a sound processor and a transmitter. Another piece will be located inside the ear, which features a receiver that is surgically placed just on the other side of the skin, where the transmitter sits. Sound is gathered from outside by the sound processor and then it transforms the sounds into electrical signals. And then the signals are sent to the brain.

People of all ages who are completely deaf or have extreme hearing issues can go for the cochlear implant option. These implants can also be particularly beneficial to those who were born without hearing ability. The way an early implant can aid children in earning how to speak. It can also be an option for those who are no longer getting the expected result from hearing aids.

Similarities between Hearing Aids and Cochlear Implants

You can find many similarities between hearing aids and cochlear implants. The main and most important one is that both of these devices do an amazing job in helping people with hearing loss to enjoy life more through a better audial experience. 

Another similarity between these two is that huge progress has been made in the creation and usage of both these devices. Hearing aids with smart technology can conveniently sync up with apps on smartphones and other technology around your home.

Whereas the progress in cochlear implant technology allows this device to work in conjunction with an individual’s current hearing, as restricted as it might be. Before, cochlear implants would completely override any hearing ability a user had. But now, the extremely low hearing ability of a user can potentially be used as a foundation to help build a better listening experience for them, as shaky as the foundation might be.

Differences between Hearing Aids and Cochlear Implants

Both of these devices can be great options depending on a person’s level of hearing loss. But they actually have many differences between them.

One of the differences in how they help users hear sounds. Hearing aids help magnify the sounds a person hears. On the other hand, cochlear implants don’t change the sound. Instead, they alter the way a person receives sound and create an entirely new process of receiving. Damaged parts of the ears are bypassed in this process to deliver sound to the brain. 

Another difference is that people who undergo cochlear implant surgery have to learn or re-learn how to hear sounds and that can require a lot of practice and patience over the course of a long time, months or even a year. Whereas it can take some time to get used to living with hearing aids, but you won’t need the intensive learning period like cochlear implants. You can get used to hearing aids within a couple of weeks.

Other than these, they have some more differences. They are given below in a comparison table for your convenience.

Hearing AidsCochlear Implants
Generally used for mild to profound hear loss.Used for moderate to profound hear loss.
It takes approximately two weeks to adapt to your hearing aids.It takes 6 to 12+ months to adapt to cochlear implants
No surgery requiredOutpatient surgery under general anesthesia needed.
No risksA bit of risk because of the surgical aspects
Typically costs between USD 3000 to 6000Can cost up to USD 100,000
Can be removed if it causes irritation or discomfort, not permanentHas some side effects including dizziness and other problems
Removable anytimeRequires extra care during sports and can affect medical tests

Final Words

As you have seen both these devices have their own set of features and ways to help people with hearing loss. You should contact your audiologist to know what will help you more and suit you better. You can easily choose one of them if you have hearing problems, as both these devices have amazing aspects to help you hear better.