Electric Cochlear Implants: Functions and Benefits

You may have thought all hearing impaired people can benefit from hearing aids but this is not entirely true. In fact, some people have such a bad hearing problem that they must resort to the use of an electric cochlear implant. This is becoming even more popular for individuals with high degrees of hearing loss because they are much more involved than a hearing aid that is simply worn in the ear and can be removed. Meant for both children and adults, these devices essentially are attached surgically to the wearer’s skull, allowing for a special bypass that helps interpret sound waves by the auditory nerve. These devices are ideal over hearing aids because they address much more severe forms of hearing loss. Let’s take a look at the various benefits of a cochlear implant and why they’re so great.

How Do Cochlear Implants Function?

The microphone is located on the outside of the ear and is meant for detecting small amounts of sound. This sound then gets picked up by the speech processor that is near the microphone, which can also be worn in other places on the body. This is where the interpretation and digitization of sound occurs in order for it to be detected by the transmitter. The transmitter, which gives the signals to the receiver underneath the skin, passes all of the signals to the electrodes cluster located in the cochlea. This sits behind the ear and under the skin, where electrodes fire up fibers that comprise the auditory nerve. Cochlear implants, necessary for many people in which a hearing aid simply won’t provide the hearing help they need, allow users to hear so much more clearly.

What Makes A Cochlear Implant?

The microphone, speech processor, and a transmitter comprise the external parts of the device, while the receiver and an electrode cluster comprise the parts implanted under the skin. Most of the factors involved in a cochlear implant are located on the outside of the ear, but some are placed under the skin and behind the ear. There are many significant parts to a cochlear implant.

Benefits of Cochlear Implants

Although these devices can cost a pretty penny, they can be covered in whole or in part by insurance. They offer so many benefits, though, that this makes up for the cost many times over. As such, electric cochlear implants are at the top of the heap when it comes to the most integral hearing devices available to the hearing impaired community. Great for people kids and adults who suffer from a high degree of filter crowd noise. Another pretty big benefit is the way in which these implants make the user feel safe in his or her environment, as they can better pick up on warnings and alerts, and even communicate better in daily conversation. As a result, you are treated to more clarity and consistency.

Advancements in Digital Hearing Aids

When you think about it, digital hearing aids have only been around for about 15 years. Before that, analog hearing aids were all the rage. But advancements in technology have brought about the advent of digital capabilities. Let’s take a look back, shall we? The initial hearing aids were called ear trumpets and they came out in the 1800s. Today’s modern digital hearing aids have remote controls that allow the user to adjust various settings, and some have omnidirectional microphones to detect sound from multiple directions. You get benefits such as background noise filtration and Bluetooth connections. Digital hearing aids have the ability to remove fuzzy and loud background noise, but they can also do a whole lot more. This gives doctors the opportunity to program each device according to the wearer’s degree of hearing loss.

The First Digital Hearing Aids

The first digital hearing aids, introduced into the medical community, came out initially in 1996. They utilized DSP, which stands for digital signal processing. Ideal for digital noise reduction, DSPs provided a boost in processing speeds which improved the ability to hear as well as the range of amplification for individuals wearing the hearing aid.

Improved Connections

People who incorporate digital hearing aids benefit from increased range, digital noise reduction and higher frequency transposition. Users can even make a connection to Bluetooth and other wireless technological services to expand their ease of use.

Digital Noise Reduction (DNR)

Digital noise reduction technology surpasses that of directional microphones because it is based on the physical characteristics of noise and speech rather than the separation of space, taking into account speech modulation.

Self-Learning

Today’s hearing aids are equipped with self-learning or regulating tendencies, which make them truly “smart” hearing aids that adjust settings like volume automatically. Using preferences set by the wearer, these devices can pre-program what you like so you never have to fiddle with the setting again. It’s these regulating tendencies that are so special.

Single Sided Deafness

Technologies like CROS devices and bone conduction devices allow the good ear to receive signals from the bad ear to improve on amplification. Prior to big advancements in digital technology, people who had single-sided deafness had to deal with the frustration of background noise and were relegated to using their “good ear” to hear conversation.

The Outlook

The outlook for digital hearing aids is superior over other types, as the technology will only continue to grow and improve. For the best in flexibility, hearing impaired individuals can count on digital hearing aids to take advantage of innovative wireless technology and microelectronics to bring about more sophisticated abilities.

10 Ways Good Hearing can Help Keep Seniors Young

Did you know you can stay young by protecting your hearing? It’s true. Check out these many ways in which you can grasp onto your youth a little longer. From better interactions at work to easier daily interactions with people around town, you can maintain your youth with positive hearing health. It’s the same as the effect of regular exercise on your overall health.

  1. You won’t fall as much. Individuals who can’t hear well don’t have as much of a stable awareness of their surroundings, and can trip and fall easier. People with a 25-decibel hearing loss are three times more likely to fall than others with no hearing impairments, says Johns Hopkins Medicine.

  2. Faster reaction time. When you have a healthy hearing level, you can better react to fire alarms and sirens so you can get out of the way and not get hurt

  3. Engage in productive interactions in daily life. Hearing loss has a tendency to alienate people from getting the information they need to go about their daily lives. It’s tough to effectively communicate with anyone from policemen to the check-out clerk when you suffer from hearing loss.

  4. Increase blood flow to your ear canals. Exercise is great for the ears. Via aerobic activity, you send oxygen-rich blood flow to the ears which protects them from additional hearing loss.

  1. Enjoy more frequent and higher quality sex. Hearing impaired seniors who wear hearing aids, along with seniors who have no hearing loss, tend to have an improved social life and sex life. They also experience better mental health and independence.

  1. Keep your mind sharp. Brain shrinkage gives you an increased risk of developing dementia in old age, and no one wants that. The National Institute on Aging has linked hearing loss with dementia, thanks to the brain shrinkage we experience as we get on in years.

  1. Stay out of the hospital. Hearing loss can boost your risk of going to the hospital due to falls and other events, can actually lead to inactivity, which in turn leads to depression.

  2. Hear better at work. Improve your job performance with better hearing. If you can’t hear well, you obviously can’t pick up on important instructions or safety precautions. You certainly can’t readily participate productively in coworker discussions or meetings. The result? An impact on your job performance.

  3. Boost in confidence. Those with difficulties in hearing can have a lack of self confidence or self-esteem because they are afraid to engage in conversation with others. They fear they won’t be able to engage in a healthy back and forth discussion, so they tend to stay away from social situations.

  4. Interact better in school. Do you find yourself back in school after many decades away? You won’t learn as well if you constantly have to sit up front and ask the teacher to repeat herself. Maintaining a healthy level of hearing means you can understand the teacher’s instructions more clearly. In addition, you can interact with your classmates and participate in projects much more easily.

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