Hearing Aids & Devices

Cochlear Implants

Longmont, Colorado

Longmont Hearing & Tinnitus Center is proud to be a part of the Cochlear Provider Network. We are skilled at the assessment, fitting, and adjustment of cochlear implants, hybrid hearing, and bone-anchored hearing aids.

Cochlear implants work differently from a hearing aid. While hearing aids amplify sounds to be detected by damaged ears, cochlear implants bypass damaged portions of the ear by directly stimulating the auditory nerve.

What Are Cochlear Implants?

Cochlear implants are small, complex, electronic devices that can help give the perception of sound to individuals diagnosed as profoundly deaf or hard of hearing. The cochlear implant consists of an external portion that sits behind the ear, and an inner portion that is surgically implanted under the skin.

How Cochlear Implant Hearing Works

What are the parts of a cochlear implant?

To better understand how cochlear implants work, it’s important to know their basic parts:

Ear with cochlear implant Source: NIH/NIDCD

Microphone

The microphone picks up sound from the environment.

SPEECH PROCESSOR

The sound processor selects and arranges sounds picked up by the microphones.

TRANSMITTER/RECEIVER/ STIMULATOR

The transmitter receives signals from the speech processor and converts them into electric impulses.

ELECTRODE ARRAYS

An electrode array is a group of electrodes that collect the impulses from the stimulator and sends the signals to different parts of the auditory nerve.

Cochlear Implant Considerations

Some people are hesitant to get cochlear implants for a variety of reasons, including budget, risks, and complications.

Cochlear implants require a surgical procedure. Just as with any kind of surgery, implantation comes with certain risks.

Learning how to interpret and re-learn sound cues is an additional consideration when getting a cochlear implant. This process takes patience, time, and practice. However, once the results are achieved, it can be very rewarding. Audiologists and speech-language pathologists work together to support and guide patients during the learning process.

Cochlear Implant Candidacy

Cochlear implant candidacy is a multi-step and complex commitment. Candidacy requires audiological approval by a Doctor of Audiology, medical clearance by an Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) physician, and approval from your insurance company. A typical candidacy timeline and ongoing rehabilitation treatment plan is outlined below.

Cochlear implant candidacy involves:

Cochlear Implants in Longmont, CO

Designed to help adults and children with severe to profound hearing loss, the Cochlear Nucleus® System mimics the natural hearing function of the inner ear. Using a uniquely designed electrode, it bypasses damage to the inner ear and delivers sound directly to your cochlea.

Kanso® 2 Sound Processor

Introducing the Cochlear Kanso® 2 Sound Processor — a next generation processor that exceeds expectations with its light, small, off-the-ear design that blends in so well, even you might forget you’re wearing it! While it may look discreet, its capabilities and features are anything but. From its adventure-proof adaptability and seamless connectivity, to the button-free configuration with wireless charging, the technology packed into the powerful Kanso® 2 Sound Processor will enrich every moment.

Nucleus® 7 Sound Processor with Hybrid Hearing

Designed to help adults with high-frequency hearing loss, the Cochlear Nucleus® Hybrid Implant System is a combination of two proven technologies brought together. It’s the only FDA-approved hearing solution that restores access to the high-frequency hearing you are missing through cochlear implant technology, while enhancing your low-frequency hearing through acoustic amplification — all in one device.

The Nucleus 7 Sound Processor with Hybrid Hearing* amplifies the natural low-frequency hearing you have after surgery with an acoustic component that can be placed at the tip of the sound processor. It also provides you with access to the high-frequency sounds you’re missing using our innovative cochlear implant technology, for a richer hearing experience. Hybrid Hearing is compatible with the wide Nucleus Electrode portfolio.

If you experience ski-slope hearing loss — where you have normal to moderate low-frequency hearing before surgery, but severe to profound high-frequency hearing loss — the Cochlear Nucleus Hybrid Implant System may be a solution. The Hybrid System uses a special electrode that is designed to preserve your low-frequency hearing and it’s the first FDA-approved electrode of it’s kind.

The Nucleus 7 Sound Processor with Hybrid Hearing also includes innovative technologies to provide for the best hearing performance, including made-for-iPhone direct connectivity, synchronized dual microphones, and SmartSound® iQ*** with SCAN.

Cochlear FAQs

An implant can’t restore hearing back to normal. However, it can give deaf or hard of hearing individuals a significant advantage in hearing using representation of sounds in the environment. With cochlear implants, understanding speech and surrounding sounds becomes easier.
Cochlear implants work differently from a hearing aid. While hearing aids amplify sounds to be detected by damaged ears, cochlear implants bypass damaged portions of the ear by directly stimulating the auditory nerve. Signals generated by the cochlear implant are sent through the auditory nerve to the brain, which recognizes the signals as sound. Hearing through a cochlear implant may take some time to get used to because it is different from normal hearing. However, once a person with a cochlear implant fully adjusts to the device, it allows them to understand speech in person or over the phone, to recognize warning signals, and to understand sounds in the environment
Adults and children who are deaf or severely hard of hearing may be candidates for cochlear implants. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration first approved cochlear implants in the mid-1980s to treat hearing loss in adults. Since 2000, cochlear implants have been approved by the FDA to be used in eligible children as early as 12 months of age. For young children who are deaf or severely hard of hearing, a cochlear implant helps them be exposed to sounds during an important period of speech learning and language development skills. Research has shown that when deaf children under 18 months old receive cochlear implants, followed by intensive therapy, they can hear, speak, and comprehend sound and music better than their peers who receive implants at an older age. Studies have also shown that children who receive a cochlear implant before 18 months develop language skills at a rate closely comparable to children with normal hearing. Many children wearing cochlear implants have succeeded in mainstream learning environments. It’s clear that getting hearing loss intervention at an early age plays a big role in shaping the learning and development of a child. Adults who have lost most or all of their hearing later in life can also benefit from cochlear implants. With cochlear implants, adults can learn to associate signals from the implant with sounds they remember, without requiring any visual cues provided by sign language or lip reading.
The decision to receive a cochlear implant involves discussions with medical specialists, including an audiologist and an experienced cochlear implant surgeon. Subsequent steps involve the surgical procedure itself, and significant therapy to learn or re-learn the sense of hearing. It’s best to keep in mind that not everyone performs and responds at the same level with cochlear implants. Acquiring cochlear implants can be expensive. Health insurance may cover the expense, but this is on a case-by-case basis. Coordinate with your health insurance provider to confirm your health coverage.

Cochlear Implants - Longmont, Colorado

Getting cochlear implants requires a good amount of decision-making and consideration. Several factors need to be weighed, and not everyone is eligible as a candidate for cochlear implants.

To learn more about the process of getting cochlear implants, visit the official website of the National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders. Longmont Hearing and Tinnitus Center is also open for cochlear implant consultations.