Articles | Hearing Aids

Hearing Aids Vs. Cochlear Implants: What's the Difference?

Cochlear implant hearing device

Hearing loss is as unique as your fingerprint. It doesn’t affect everyone the same way and can be caused by different factors. This is why there are many options for managing hearing loss. What might work for one person may not work for another.

For many people, hearing aids are one of the best ways to manage hearing loss and regain important sounds. When hearing aids are not effective, your hearing specialist may recommend that you consider a cochlear implant. Like hearing aids, cochlear implants stimulate the auditory nerve to provide the sensation of sound for those with hearing loss. However, there are important differences.

What are the key differences between a hearing aid and cochlear implant?

Hearing aids are removable. In most cases, you can take them off or out of your ears at night. These devices are used to process and amplify sound for people with residual hearing. They are designed for people who have mild to severe hearing loss and can still hear some sounds.

In comparison, cochlear implants are surgically implanted by a surgical specialist to provide a modified sense of sound for those with moderate to profound hearing loss and who have poor speech understanding. Cochlear implants are typically used if hearing aids were not powerful enough to help the person with their degree of hearing loss. Cochlear implants are a lifelong commitment. You cannot remove or replace them yourself.

How do I know which device I should use?

If you have hearing loss, then you should visit a certified hearing specialist. They will test your hearing and diagnose your degree of hearing loss. They will also go over options with you that they can provide to help you to hear better. The majority of hearing losses can be successfully managed with hearing aids. Hearing aids do not require surgery and are better suited for people with less severe hearing loss and who still have fair speech understanding.

Although cochlear implants can be very helpful for those with profound hearing loss or deafness, they aren’t for everyone. Both adults and children can be eligible for cochlear implants, but only if their hearing loss is severe enough, they have poor speech understanding, and they haven’t had their hearing loss for a long time. The longer your hearing loss goes untreated the harder it is for the brain to adjust to hearing sounds again, whether you use a hearing aid or cochlear implant.

If you are experiencing hearing loss, make an appointment with your local EarQ provider today. They will be able to test your hearing, find a solution for your needs, and further explain the differences between hearing aids and cochlear implants.

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Put Your Hearing to the Test

Sometimes, hearing loss happens so gradually that it can be difficult to notice at first. However, there are some common signs that indicate you may have hearing loss. Want some answers now? Take this short survey to determine if it's time for you to make a hearing appointment.

Take a 3-minute hearing test!

Read the following statements and select “yes” if they apply to you most of the time, “sometimes” if they apply once in a while, and “no” if they don't apply at all.

I have trouble hearing the other person on the phone.

YES SOMETIMES NO

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