Approximately 48 million Americans experience hearing loss, a condition that has been linked to social withdrawal, depression, falls/imbalance, cognitive decline and more. While hearing aids are the most popular treatment for hearing loss, there are a number of surgeries that have helped individuals with severe to profound hearing loss regain their sense of hearing.
There are two kinds of hearing loss: sensorineural and conductive. Each type requires a different kind of surgery to address the underlying issue.
Sensorineural hearing loss is caused by damage to the inner ear. Within the cochlea, there are thousands of microscopic hair cells called stereocilia, which convert soundwaves into electrical energy to be interpreted by the brain as sound. Once these hair cells are damaged, they cannot be regenerated.
Unlike traditional hearing aids, which amplify sounds, cochlear implants bypass the damaged part of the inner ear and directly stimulate the auditory nerve.
Cochlear implants consist of the implant itself, which is a small electronic device placed under the skin behind the ear and is connected to electrodes in the cochlea, as well as an external component with a microphone that picks up external sound.
Cochlear implants benefit people with severe to profound hearing loss who do not benefit from hearing aids and who are in good health.
Surgery for Conductive Hearing Loss
Conductive hearing loss is caused be an obstruction in the outer or middle ear that does not allow to sound to pass through. This condition can be temporary or permanent, depending on the cause.
Bone-Anchored Hearing Aids
Bone anchored hearing aids work by channeling soundwaves through the jawbone and skull rather than through the ear. They have two parts: a sound processor that picks up and coverts soundwaves into vibrations, and a titanium implant, which vibrates the surrounding bone and sends sound energy to the inner ear.
Bone anchored hearing aids are most successful for people with single-sided conductive hearing loss.
Factors to Consider
It’s important to note that surgical solutions for hearing loss are not for everybody. These surgeries can be very effective, but not many people qualify as candidates.
To find out if cochlear implants or bone anchored hearing aids are right for you, contact Pinnacle ENT Associates today!