Millions of people of all ages from every part of the world are affected by hearing loss.

While hearing aids provide an adequate solution for restoring a better quality of life through better hearing, some cases require an alternative solution to improve hearing clarity when hearing aids simply don’t suffice.

When either children or adults seek improved hearing clarity and more natural sound, the audiologists at North Houston Hearing Solutions look for answers to improve communication and help restore hearing from cochlear implants.

Whether placed in one ear (unilateral) or both ears (bilateral), cochlear implants can be used to improve hearing clarity and elevate the capacity for people to speak and process language. Anyone as young as six to twelve months on up to adolescents and adults can use these implants.

Many people are aware of cochlear implant technology, but few understand what they are and how they are used.

How Cochlear Implants Work


What is a Cochlear Implant?

A cochlear implant is an electronic device designed to compensate for the damage done to the structures of the inner ear. The purpose of the device is to help transmit modified sound signals or impulses directly to the auditory nerve instead of amplifying sound that passes through the auditory canal to the inner ear.

There are two main components to a cochlear implant system: an external processor and internal electrode implants that require a surgical procedure to thread them into the cochlea. Though they do not cure the patient’s hearing loss, cochlear implants help restore access to sound.

FDA-approved cochlear implants have been around since the 1970s, providing a higher level of hearing clarity to individuals with severe to profound hearing loss. As with all other electronic devices, the digital technology used in today’s devices far exceeds that of the early instruments, adding greater processing power and improved performance.

Cochlear implants can be used alongside hearing aids or can replace them when they do not provide an adequate solution to the type and severity of the patient’s hearing loss.

Additional Answers To Your Questions About Cochlear Implants

A female with cochlear implant at North Houston Hearing Solutions
Cochlear Implant logo

Q: What is meant by bi-modal fitting?

When a patient wears a cochlear implant on one ear and a traditional hearing aid on the other ear, this is known as a bi-modal fitting. Thanks to advancements in technology, the hearing aid and cochlear implant are able to communicate with each other using digital connectivity, maximizing hearing potential.

Q: How do I know if I am a cochlear implant candidate?

Your audiologist and a surgeon will collaborate to determine whether or not you are a good candidate for a cochlear implant. Specific candidacy requirements might include the level of hearing loss, the ability to understand words, and the effectiveness of hearing aid use, as well as your medical history.

Q: Are there risks involved with cochlear implant surgery?

As with any surgical procedure that requires the use of general anesthesia, there are some risks involved. However, most procedures are conducted with minimal risks and few to any complications, requiring only a one-day hospital stay.

Q: Will I need more surgery as new technology becomes available?

Advancements in technology do not typically require additional surgery because the implanted device is a pretty basic component. The external processing device is the part of the two-component system that you may need to upgrade as technology improves.

Q: Can people with cochlear implants swim and shower and remain active after activation?

The only restrictions for patients with cochlear implants include skydiving and scuba diving, which involve intense environmental pressure changes. Patients remove the external processor in order to swim and shower as well as engage in other aggressive physical activities while using protective headgear.

Q: How long after being implanted are cochlear implants activated?

Cochlear implants are usually activated by your audiologist within 4-6 weeks after surgery. You will initially be introduced to basic soft sounds and gradually be able to recognize and interpret more sounds in the successive weeks and months.

Q: Are cochlear implants covered by insurance?

FDA-approved cochlear implants are covered by most private insurance companies as well as Medicare.

The staff was wonderful, kind and responsive. The doctor took her time to address multiple questions even though she knew we would probably need help from a different type of provider. Recommend? Yes!

Tara L.

Great service very friendly! They attended me quickly and thoroughly, they also helped recommend my next steps.

Leslie G.

I have been a patient of N. Houston Hearing Solutions since 2012. They are very efficient, friendly and provide the best care for your hear solutions needs. I highly recommend them.

Frank E.

Learn More About Cochlear Implants From Our Specialist

Cochlear implants provide a solution for those with severe to profound hearing loss who experience little to no benefit from wearing hearing aids. They are an important tool utilized by North Houston Hearing to help improve the quality of life for the individuals who qualify for them.

If you, or a loved one, would like to learn more about cochlear implants or find out if you qualify, please complete and submit the adjacent form, and our specialist will contact you.

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