The Difference Between a Hearing Aid and a Cochlear Implant
Scientific advancements now make it possible to address all sorts of hearing problems using everything from hearing aids to cochlear implants. What should be made clear is that solutions are applied based on patient need. Along those same lines, a cochlear implant is a unique device that can only be used to address certain kinds of hearing loss. To say that a cochlear implant is not the same thing as a hearing aid is to state the obvious.
A hearing aid is essentially an amplifier. It cannot restore the physical function of the ear to what it was at birth, but it can make hearing sounds easier by amplifying them in the right way. Hearing aids are considered external appliances even though you can buy models that fit completely in the ear canal.
A cochlear implant is used to address profound hearing loss resulting from the basic mechanisms of the ear no longer working. It involves implanting a device in the head – under the skin – that will stimulate the nerves responsible for carrying signals from the ear to the brain. An external piece ‘connects’ with the implant via magnets. The cochlear implant sends signals to the brain that mimic sound without actually producing them.
As you can see, the hearing aid is an amplifier while the cochlear implant is a sound simulator. Both can be used to address different kinds of hearing loss in patients of all ages. If you have any questions about your own hearing loss, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. We are here to help restore your hearing as best we can.