Cochlear Implants – Are They Worth It?

Hearing aids may be more popular, but that doesn’t mean they can solve every hearing problem; sometimes, cochlear is needed

Cochlear Implants – Are They Worth It?

by | Nov 6, 2022 | Hearing Aids, Industry News, Patient Resources, Technology

While cochlear may not be the solution for every hearing issue, it’s good to know that it is available to everyone and can be recommended by one of our professional audiologists. 

Prescription hearing aids take all the credit, as they are the most popular solution. However, this is for a good reason since hearing aids offer a wide range of relief to a wide range of possible patients. But they don’t help everyone.

Before getting cochlear implants, it’s essential to know if you are a candidate for them to help you at all. Generally speaking, cochlear implants are for those with a severe to profound hearing loss. When hearing aids don’t cut it, we look to cochlear for relief.

What Is a Cochlear Implant?

A cochlear implant is a simple surgical procedure that implants an electrode in the inner ear just under the skin. It connects to a sound processor and receiver that fits discreetly behind your ear.

The sound processor behind the ear processes incoming sounds. It does this by digitizing the sound signals and then sending these electrical signals to the implanted electrode in the cochlea. This is then relayed directly to the brain for processing.

Cochlear can be more effective than prescription hearing aids because it bypasses the ear canal and transmits sounds as an electrical signal rather than just amplifying sound.

Get a Personalized and Professional Opinion on Whether You Should Get Cochlear Implants or Not via This Hearing Test

Who Makes the Best Candidate? 

Cochlear implants are generally for patients with a severe to profound hearing loss. A comprehensive hearing assessment is the only way to determine your hearing loss level, and we perform this first before prescribing any treatment.

People living with a long-term hearing loss will also see significant benefits from cochlear implants. These are meant as a last resort if hearing aids are not strong enough.

All of the most advanced hearing aids rely on you hearing the signal first, and then they send the signal; if your ear cannot do this on its own, then cochlear may be the answer.

Safety Concerns

A cochlear implant is done under a general anesthetic and can be completed in less than a day – no overnight stay is required. In addition, a series of in-person and virtual appointments will be necessary for the few months following the surgery. 

These follow-ups will be with both an audiologist and a speech-language pathologist. This is to ensure the utmost safety of your physical health and also to confirm the instruments are working to the best of their ability. 

In most cases, we’ll start slowly with gentle, low-volume sounds. This ensures your brain can process them correctly and swiftly. As the sounds become more precise, we’ll make the proper adjustments, and you will be all set with your new hearing.

Does Insurance Cover Cochlear Implants?

Thankfully, we have plenty of experience dealing with insurance companies, as it’s part of our promise to you. We know that insurance is a part of everyone’s lives, so we always do what we can to make the most of any insurance program. 

Cochlear implants are covered by insurance policies, including Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance carriers, and vocational rehabilitation. Each insurance plan may specify candidacy criteria, but of course, our team can help guide you through the entire process from start to finish.

Life after Cochlear Implant Surgery

After your follow-up appointments and adjustment period, you should be able to get back to almost every activity that you may have struggled with while wearing hearing aids. The only activities to avoid involve extreme changes in pressure. Examples are skydiving and scuba diving. 

This makes them much more versatile and easier to manage than prescription hearing aids. Once you have taken the time to adapt, the transformation in your hearing and lifestyle can be astounding.

The external processor must be removed for swimming and showering, and protective headgear is worn for more physical activities such as football or boxing. Besides that, enjoy everything as you would if you had no hearing issues.

Where to Get More Information

Cochlear is just one way we assist the residents of Los Angeles. We are experienced and dedicated to improving your hearing through various avenues. 

If you think cochlear is the best path for you, please schedule a comprehensive hearing assessment so we can accurately determine your level of hearing loss. If you currently wear hearing aids but are finding them less and less effective, bring them to your appointment as well for the examination. 

We also have more detailed information on our website and of course, if you have any specific questions, then please contact us right away. 

We are here for everyone in the Los Angeles area to get the help they need to achieve better hearing. We will always find a way. 

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Gregory Frazer, PhD, AuD, CCC-A, ABA, NBC-HIS

Adjunct Professor UCSD/San Diego State U Audiology Program Adjunct Professor University of Pacific Audiology Program Adjunct Professor AT Still University Audiology Program Adjunct Professor Pacific University Audiology Program Dr. Gregory Frazer entered private practice Audiology and Hearing Aid Dispensing in 1982. For 14 years he owned and operated Hearing Care Associates, which had 23 offices and was one of the largest audiology private practices in the U.S. Dr. Frazer is a well-known clinician and teacher and was the first audiologist to obtain dual doctorates in Audiology, both a PhD. in Audiology as well as the new Clinical Doctorate of Audiology, the AuD. He is Board Certified by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, American Academy of Audiology, and the National Certification in Hearing Instrument Sciences. Dr. Frazer specializes in the evaluation and treatment of vertigo, dizziness, and hearing and balance disorders. Dr. Frazer is experienced in working with infants, children, and adults. He is semi-fluent in Spanish and Sign Language.

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