The  Grande Ronde Valley’s Only Cochlear Implant Experts

Millions of people of all ages, walks of life and social status from every corner of the world are affected by hearing loss. Hearing aids allow most of these individuals to enjoy improved hearing and a better quality of life, but hearing aids may not provide enough sound clarity for everyone with moderate to profound hearing loss.

Audiologists turn to cochlear implants to help restore hearing and contribute to a more independent and rewarding lifestyle whenever children or adults seek greater hearing clarity or even the capacity to identify some sounds.

Cochlear implants can be placed in one ear (unilateral) or both ears (bilateral), allowing both children from as young as six to twelve months on up and adults the improved capacity to hear and process language and other sounds.

Most people have heard of cochlear implants and its technology, but few really understand what they are and how audiologists use them.

What are Cochlear Implants?

A cochlear implant is an electronic device implanted into the cochlear, which is designed to compensate for the damaged structures of the inner ear.

The device transmits a modified sound signal from a sound processor and transmitter with signals that stimulate the auditory nerve through electrodes threaded into the cochlear. Though hearing loss is not cured by cochlear implants, they restore access to sound for the wearer.

The device was approved by the FDA in the 1970s, providing a higher level of sound sensation to individuals with severe hearing loss. Digital technology, like all other electronic devices, continues to contribute to their improved performance as well as improved functioning in place of or along with hearing aids.

Schedule A Hearing Assessment

Answers to Your Additional Questions About Cochlear Implants

Q: Are there risks involved with cochlear implant surgery?

A. Risks are involved in any surgical procedure that requires general anesthesia. However, the surgical risks and complications associated with cochlear implantation tend to be minimal, requiring only a one-day hospital stay in most instances.

Q: Will a cochlear implant provide normal hearing if I am deaf?

A. No. Cochlear implants do not restore normal hearing or represent a cure for deafness. It is a tool for improving communication by stimulating the normal function of the electrical impulses produced from sound waves in the inner ear. Implants with listening therapy allow hearing-impaired individuals to better recognize sounds and speech for communication purposes.

Q: What benefit will I receive from cochlear implants?

A. Increased sound sensation, making hearing more natural, is the primary benefit of a cochlear implant. You will be able to hear conversations and sounds at a more comfortable level while keeping the volume of your own voice at a more comfortable level also. Additionally, you will experience a richer sound when listening to music or having a phone conversation.

Q: Do I qualify for cochlear implants?

A. Both children and adults qualify for cochlear implants.

In the case of children born with severe to profound hearing loss, most experts implant the devices as early as possible in order to avoid interrupting natural development as well as enhance it. If the hearing loss occurred after language developed, as is the case with adults, they also provide benefits but are not recommended for adults who were born with hearing loss or never developed audible language skills.

Schedule a Hearing Assessment

Erika Shakespeare, CCC-A Is a Cochlear Implant Provider with the Cochlear Provider Network.

For those with moderate to profound hearing loss who receive little to no benefits from hearing aids, cochlear implants may provide a viable solution.

Though not a cure for hearing loss they are an important tool that allows those who qualify for them to live a richer, more rewarding quality of life. Audiology and Hearing Aid Associates include cochlear implants among the various treatment options available to our patients.

Erika Shakespeare is the audiologist in the Grande Ronde Valley who provides cochlear implant evaluations and implant mapping services. Audiology and Hearing Aid Associates partners with cochlear implant surgeons in Idaho and Oregon.

Complete the form on this page for a hearing assessment if you or a loved one could benefit from a cochlear implant and you want to find out if you qualify.