How are Cochlear Implants different from Active Middle Ear Implants?
The cochlear implant is an inner ear implant whereby an electrode is placed in the cochlea in the inner ear. To meet the qualifications for a cochlear implant, the hearing loss must be in the moderate to profound range in each ear, with demonstrated limited benefit from amplification. The procedure essentially bypasses the cochlea to directly stimulate the auditory nerve and help the patient hear in an electronic way. The cochlear implant cannot typically be reversed and currently requires the user to wear a sound processor on the outside of their head. The sound processor is held onto their head by a magnet and must be removed to sleep, shower, swim, etc. There are stringent guidelines around candidacy for the cochlear implant. It can be a lifesaver for the right patient, as they learn to hear in a new way their hearing and understanding can greatly improve.