What’s the Difference Between a Cochlear Implant and a Hearing Aid?

If you are suffering from hearing loss, you are probably starting to research your options. Many hearing loss sufferers consider things like hearing aids and cochlear implants. There is a big difference between the two. While both serve a purpose in assisting those who are experiencing hearing loss, it is a good idea to understand those differences and gain a better insight into which tool is more suited for your needs.

While most of us are familiar with what a hearing aid is, the cochlear implant might be a new term. The cochlear implant is a small electronic device that is implanted through a surgical procedure. They are made up of the following parts:

  • The inside device that is surgically implanted into the bone surrounding the ear (temporal bone) that is in charge of decoding sounds and sending electrical signals to the brain
  • The outside device that acts as a microphone/receiver, speech processor and antenna

Learn More About Cochlear Implants vs. Hearing Aids

Who is a good fit for a hearing aid?

A hearing aid might be the right solution for you based on these criteria:

  • Extent of hearing loss – If your hearing loss is mild to profound, a hearing aid may be a good fit for you.
  • Type of hearing loss – If your hearing loss is either conductive, meaning it comes from your outer or middle ear, or sensorineural, meaning it originates in your inner ear or hearing nerve, a hearing aid might be the correct tool for you.

Details of How Hearing Aids Work

  • Time for results – Generally, it takes approximately two weeks or less for you to adapt to hearing aids.
  • Invasiveness – No surgical procedure is needed.
  • Risk – Little to no risk of trying the hearing aid.
  • Age limitations – No upper age limit
  • Insurance – Insurance will cover the hearing aid in some instances, but coverage varies widely.

Who is a good fit for a cochlear implant?

A hearing aid might be the right solution for you based on these criteria:

  • Extent of hearing loss – Hearing loss is moderate to profound.
  • Type of hearing loss – Your type of hearing loss is called “sensorineural,” meaning it stems from your inner ear or hearing nerve.

Details of How Cochlear Implants Work

  • Time for results – Generally, it takes anywhere from six to 6 to 12 months for cochlear implant users to adapt and see improvement in their hearing.
  • Invasiveness – Requires a surgical procedure that is outpatient with general anesthesia.
  • Risk – Low to moderate risk due to the surgery.
  • Age limitations – No upper age limit
  • Insurance – Most major insurance companies cover the majority or all of this procedure.

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The purpose of this hearing assessment and/or demonstration is for hearing wellness to determine if the client(s) may benefit from using hearing aids. Products demonstrated may differ from products sold. Test conclusion may not be a medical diagnosis. The use of any hearing aid may not fully restore normal hearing and does not prevent future hearing loss. Testing is to evaluate your hearing wellness, which may include selling and fitting hearing aids. Hearing instruments may not meet the needs of all hearing-impaired individuals. One offer per customer. Insurance benefit, including Managed Care or federal reimbursements, cannot be combined with any of our promotional offers, coupons or discounts. Other terms may apply. See office for details.