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Home > Medical Services > Ear, Nose & Throat > Ear Care > Implantable & Advanced Hearing Devices
New advances have expanded options for those not benefiting from traditional hearing aids.
Auditory Osseointegrated Devices can be helpful to those with deafness in one ear and normal hearing in their opposite ear, individuals unable to wear traditional hearing aids due to outer or middle ear malformations, or those who have problems with recurrent ear drainage or significant irritation in the outer ear that renders them unable to wear traditional hearing aids.
Traditional hearing aids transmit sound from the outer portion of the ear through the middle ear and finally to the inner ear. Auditory Osseointegrated Devices bypass the outer and middle ear, sending sound directly to the inner ear. Depending on the age of the patient, this may involve a surgically placed bone conduction implant/abutment, which helps to transmit the vibratory sound energy to the inner ear.
Cochlear implants are electronic devices that can be helpful to those with severe to profound hearing loss who do not benefit from traditional hearing aids. Instead of sending information to the hearing nerve via acoustic stimulation, cochlear implants utilize electrical stimulation, bypassing the damaged sensory cells in the inner ear and sending an electric signal to the hearing nerve.
A cochlear implant consists of an external processor that picks up sound information from the environment and sends the information to the internal portion of the implant, which is surgically implanted underneath the skin behind the ear.
Cochlear implantation is a surgical option considered for those who have difficulty understanding speech and language even when a hearing aid is being worn. Potential candidates are evaluated through testing, including a review of medical history, physical and a CT scan or MRI study. Once the device is implanted by a neurotologist, an audiologist will program the device and follow up with patients to ensure he or she is receiving optimal benefit.