Cochlear Implant vs Hearing Aid: Difference and Comparison

Key Takeaways

  1. Cochlear implants directly stimulate the auditory nerve, bypassing damaged hair cells in the inner ear, while hearing aids amplify sounds for better perception.
  2. Candidates for cochlear implants have severe to profound hearing loss, whereas hearing aids benefit individuals with mild to moderately severe hearing loss.
  3. Cochlear implant surgery is an invasive procedure, whereas using hearing aids requires no surgical intervention.
Cochlear Implant vs Hearing Aid

What is Cochlear Implant?

A cochlear implant is a hearing device. It is electronic and helps people who have lost their hearing ability. This device will be surgically implanted in the inner ear if a person has severe hearing loss.

The whole device includes two parts. One part, which is internal, gets implanted behind the ear, while the other part is external that stays on the other part of the ear and captures the surrounding sounds.

As the outer part sends signals, the inner part catches them. Then it stimulates the auditory nerve and sends signals to the brain, and the whole hearing process is complete.

Cochlear implants are very different from hearing aids and are not competitors. The option of a cochlear implant comes only after seeing if the person has no benefits from using a hearing aid.

cochlear implant

What is Hearing Aid?

A hearing aid is also an electronic device that helps people to hear. It is an external device that is developed to amplify sounds. This will suffice the requirement if a person has mild hearing loss.

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It has a microphone, an amplifier, and a speaker. All of the parts work together and fetch sound waves. After the microphone captures the sound, it gets transformed into electrical signals. Then the signals get amplified, and the person wearing the hearing aid can listen to the sounds through earbuds

New-age hearing aids have a variety of sizes and even styles. Some of the styles are behind-the-ear (BTE), in-the-ear (ITE), and completely-in-the-canal (CIC). Evaluation of a hearing healthcare professional will prescribe the correct type of hearing aid for you.

They also come with modern technology qualities such as noise reduction and Bluetooth connectivity. With the use of digital hearing aids, one can even select the amplification rate for sound frequencies. Getting professional advice before starting to use a hearing aid is essential. Consult with an audiologist if you assume you are losing the ability to hear.

hearing aid

Difference Between Cochlear Implant and Hearing Aid

  1. Cochlear implants restore hearing ability, while a hearing aid only amplifies the surrounding sounds so people with damaged hearing can hear.
  2. Cochlear implants are for people who have severely lost their hearing ability. While hearing aids are best for people suffering from mild hearing damage.
  3. Cochlear implants can not happen without surgery, while on the other hand, no surgery is included in the hearing aids as they are only devices for external use.
  4. As the surgery part is present here, cochlear implants are costly. On the contrary, hearing aids are affordable.
  5. Cochlear implants come with the possibility of infection, and the surgery might be unsuccessful in rare cases. On the other hand, hearing aids can lose functionality if one does not clean them regularly.
  6. Cochlear implants have internal and external parts, but hearing aids are only external.
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Comparison Between Cochlear Implant and Hearing Aid

Parameter of ComparisonCochlear ImplantHearing Aid
FunctionalityIt offers the ability to hear.It amplifies sounds so people with damaged hearing can listen to.
Who is this for?This is the best option for people whose inner ears are damaged.This works very well for people with mild hearing issues.
Need for surgeryCochlear implants can only be done through surgery.No surgery is needed in the case of a hearing aid.
RisksThere is a chance of infection in cochlear implants.It might get clogged with earwax, so it needs regular cleaning.
ExpenseThis is more costly.This does not cost a lot when compared to cochlear implants.
Difference Between Cochlear Implant and Hearing Aid
References
  1. https://pubs.asha.org/doi/full/10.1044/1092-4388(2005/046)
  2. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/lary.25848

Last Updated : 30 July, 2023

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