Otology, Neurotology, & Hearing Center

Dallas and Frisco, TX
Main Phone: 972-566-7600
Hearing Center: 972-566-7359
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Blog post by Dallas Ear Institute

Is a cochlear implant a type of “high-tech” hearing aid?

No. Hearing aids amplify sound in very sophisticated ways to enable a hearing impaired person to better use the residual hearing they possess. Modern hearing aids are very “high-tech” themselves and can work remarkably well even for patients with severe hearing loss. In order to work effectively the patient must have enough quantity and quality of residual natural hearing with which the hearing aid can work cooperatively.

This is not true of cochlear implants which are designed to work apart from an individual’s natural hearing when it has deteriorated beyond adequate usefulness with a hearing aid. A cochlear implant is a surgically implanted electrical stimulator which does not amplify sounds at all. Instead it acts like an artificial, prosthetic inner ear- converting sound to a complicated electrical signal that stimulates the nerve endings of the inner ear. The brain interprets this as sound even if the person is totally deaf.

Because the process to obtain and use a cochlear implant is so much more complicated and arduous than the use of modern hearing aids, it is always preferable to use hearing aids until such a time that they no longer can provide adequate everyday hearing improvement. Only an audiologist or ear specialist experienced in hearing aid and cochlear implant treatment can adequately counsel a patient as to their best option.

Call (972) 566-7600 to schedule an appointment. We look forward to helping you hear better!