Sometimes conventional hearing aids cannot improve hearing. For patients with severe to profound hearing loss with little or no speech awareness, implantable hearing devices may be an option to improve speech awareness and understanding.
Types of Hearing Implants
Implantable Hearing Devices
Implantable hearing devices are surgically implanted instruments designed to improve the transmission of sound vibrations There are several different types of implantable hearing devices including: cochlear implants, bone anchored hearing aids and auditory brainstem implants.
Cochlear implants are implanted surgically behind the ear and allow those who are profoundly deaf to perceive sound and have a better understanding of speech.
Cochlear implants generate an electrical signal that the brain interprets as sound. The implant has an external portion that sits behind the ear, consisting of a microphone, a speech processor and a transmitter. These work in tandem with the internal components, a receiver and array of electrodes, which have been implanted in the ear.
Bone Anchored Hearing Devices
Like cochlear implants, this system bypasses the damaged system of the ear by transmitting sound vibrations through the bones of the skull to the inner ear, where the nerve fibers responsible for hearing are stimulated.
How Does a Bone Anchored Hearing Device Work?
The bones of the skull act as conductors, transmitting these sound vibrations to the inner ear, where the nerve fibers responsible for hearing are stimulated. A bone anchored hearing device is especially useful for patients with conductive hearing loss and single-sided deafness.
A bone anchored hearing device is especially useful for patients with conductive hearing loss and single-sided deafness.
Auditory Brainstem Implants
Auditory brainstem implants (ABI) are similar in concept to cochlear implants, except they rely on electrodes placed directly on the brainstem that relay electronic signals to the brain. ABIs are less common, usually reserved for individuals whose auditory nerve does not function properly due to disease or trauma.
At Albuquerque Speech Language and Hearing Center, we offer comprehensive testing for cochlear implants and BAHA hearing devices. Our Doctors of Audiology can determine candidacy and recommend implantable devices when conventional hearing aids will not be successful. Our Audiologists work closely with ENT physicians across the state of New Mexico to provide these specialized hearing devices.
Call Albuquerque Speech Language Hearing Center at (505) 247-4224 for more information or to schedule an appointment.