healtheo360 Wellness Blog

Understanding Hearing Loss & Cochlear Implants

Posted on Jan 11, 2017 4:17:00 PM by healtheo360

Understanding Hearing Loss & Cochlear Implants: Hearing impairment can be a debilitating disability. Whether a patient is suffering from mild hearing loss or total deafness, they will likely face some difficulties during their lifetime.

The severity of a patient’s hearing loss is measured in degrees, ranging from mild to profound. While most patients find relief through the use of hearing aids, sometimes these devices are not enough to combat the effects of hearing loss.

Hearing Degree of Loss Impact
Normal Hearing 0 to 25 dB Hearing is considered normal
Mild Hearing Loss 25 to 40 dB Difficulty hearing soft speech in noisy situations
Moderate Hearing Loss 40 to 60 dB Difficulty hearing moderate speech when background noise is present
Severe Hearing Loss 60 to 80 dB Difficulty hearing loud speech, but heard if amplified
Profound Hearing Loss 80 dB or more Difficulty hearing and understanding, even with amplification


Understanding Hearing Loss & Cochlear Implants

Many patients suffering from severe or profound hearing loss find relief through a cochlear implant, a small assistive hearing device that helps provide a sense of sound. Since being approved by the FDA in the 1980s, more than 188,000 patients have received cochlear implants.

The surgical procedure is short and mostly painless. A small incision is made behind a patient’s affected ear and a receiver is implanted. The receiver is connected to electrodes, which are placed into the cochlea, a part of your inner ear. A short time after surgery, a patient is fitted for a microphone, which resembles a hearing aid.

understanding hearing loss & cochlear implants

Understanding Hearing Loss & Cochlear Implants

While the procedure is considered mostly safe, there are some complications that may arise from the procedure. These include nerve injury, nerve damage, tinnitus, infection, and more.

For those who do decide to go through with surgery, it is important to understand that cochlear implants do not restore hearing loss, but rather improve how a patient interprets sound. Additionally, cochlear implant surgery should be considered a last resort, as any residual hearing is usually destroyed during the procedure.

The results differ among patients, with some seeing significant improvement while others see little to no change. Some of the more significant benefits include the ability to hear speech at a normal level, an ability to interpret sounds with ease, and an ability to control your own speech to effectively communicate with others.


Additional Information/Resources 

Hearing Loss Prevention - 5 Ways to Protect Your Hearing

Hearing Assistive Technology - Telecoil



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