Implantable Hearing Devices
Hearing aids aren’t for everyone. Sometimes hearing loss progresses to the point where hearing aids are no longer helpful. Sometimes we only have hearing loss in one ear and need a device to transfer sound to the other ear. And sometimes we just need to give sound a way to bypass a blockage in the ear (see conductive hearing loss on our FAQs page). If any of these describe you, you may be a candidate for implantable hearing devices.
These implantable hearing devices are used with people who have a severe hearing loss and are not helped by using traditional hearing aids. When hearing loss reaches a certain severity, sometimes making the sound louder is no longer helpful. We hear distortion instead of the amplified sounds. And so amplification no longer produces the desired benefits.
To be considered for cochlear implants, patients must go through additional testing to establish candidacy. We want to be sure you meet the candidacy requirements before introducing you to a surgeon. The surgeon may do some more tests, like an MRI or other imaging, and talk to you about the implant procedure (usually done as an outpatient procedure).
If your hearing is better in the lower pitches, you may be a candidate for a hybrid system. These systems amplify the lower pitches like a traditional hearing aid. But they use the implant for improved clarity in the higher pitches.
Bone Anchored Hearing Aids (BAHA)
These implantable devices are useful for patients with permanent conductive hearing loss or hearing loss in one ear only (“dead ear”). The implantable part integrates into the bone of the mastoid process – the hard part of the skull just behind your ear. Your hearing aid attaches to that part and vibrates when it picks up sound. The vibration transfers sound to the inner ear and bypasses the outer/middle ear.