Man getting his ear checked

Hearing Aids vs. Cochlear Implants: Which Is The One For Me?

When suffering from hearing loss, figuring out if a hearing aid or cochlear implant is best for you could be a challenge. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates hearing aids and cochlear implants as medical devices. Both hearing devices serve the same purpose but significantly different ways.

Hearing Aids

These medical devices are suitable for people with mild to extreme hearing loss. They are battery-operated and can be worn behind the ear. Hearing aids contain three parts:

  • An amplifier that magnifies the sounds
  • A microphone that receives and converts sound waves into electrical signals
  • A speaker that sends amplified sounds into the person's ear

Depending on the degree of hearing loss, there are many styles of hearing aids to choose from. Most aids feature different sound profiles suitable for multiple sound environments, such as busy concert arenas or a quiet library.

Cochlear Implants

Unlike hearing aids, cochlear implants are only beneficial to individuals with damage to their hair cells in the inner ear, vestibulocochlear nerve, or the brain's central processing centers, resulting in sensorineural hearing loss. These medical devices are surgically implanted under the skin and sit behind the ear. They bypass the inner ear to stimulate the auditory nerve and give a sensation of sound to people with severe hearing loss. Cochlear implants are comprised of four parts:

  • A microphone that picks up sound and sends it to a speech processor
  • A transmitter and a receiver picks up the sound and then converts it into electric impulses
  • An electrode array that collects the impulses and sends them to the auditory nerve

Choosing Between the Two

One of the main differences between these two assistive hearing devices is that hearing aids are for individuals with mild to severe hearing loss and can easily be removed. In contrast, cochlear implants are inserted surgically, making them a more permanent solution. When deciding which device is best for you, it's essential to consult with your audiologist to make the recommendation they think is best for you. If you are recommended a hearing aid, it's important you consider if the device has:

  • Bluetooth or wireless capabilities
  • Warranties or refunds
  • Different sound profiles and programs
  • Rechargeable or non-rechargeable batteries
  • Directional microphone systems
  • Digital noise reduction
  • Synchronization features

If a cochlear implant was the option recommended for you, it's important you consider the implant has:

  • Water-resistant or waterproof capabilities
  • Long expected life span
  • Easily available replacement parts
  • Pre and post-implantation support
  • Upgradeable, programmable, and future-proof technologies
  • Rechargeable or non-rechargeable batteries

If you or someone you know has suffered injuries from a malfunctioning or failing cochlear implant, you may be eligible for financial compensation. Here at Shoop | A Professional Law Corporation, we have the knowledge it takes to get you the justice you deserve.

Call us today at (866) 884-1717 to schedule a free consultation with one of our award-winning attorneys.