Electro-acoustic implants

Electro-acoustic implant systems allow people with high frequency hearing loss to hear high frequency sounds which are so important for understanding speech and for successful communication.

John rowland with his grandchild

What is an electro-acoustic implant?

Electro-acoustic implant systems allow people with high frequency hearing loss to hear high frequency sounds which are so important for understanding speech and for successful communication. For people who suffer from high frequency hearing loss, hearing aids alone cannot provide good access to these sounds.

Who can they help?

Do you struggle to hear clearly when wearing a hearing aid? If so, you're not alone. Many people find it difficult to hear everyday sounds clearly, which can be an enormous source of frustration.

Sound familiar? Consider the following:

  • Does background noise interfere with what you hear… in a restaurant? at work? at family gatherings?
  • Are sounds you could once hear from a distance now harder to hear?
  • Do you strain to hear dialogue on TV, while others say the volume is up too loud?
  • Do you find it difficult to talk on the phone?

If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, there's a good chance that you're missing out on a lot of high frequency sounds. You may have heard this referred to as 'partial deafness'. The ability to detect and appreciate these sounds is necessary for a complete hearing experience.

How do they work?

 

Electrical pathway

  1. The external sound processor captures sound and converts it into digital signals
  2. The sound processor sends digital high frequency signals to the implant
  3. The implant converts high frequency signals into electrical energy, sending it to an electrode array inside the cochlea
  4. The nerve hearing response caused by electrical and acoustic stimulation is sent to the brain which combines them into a perceived sound
How hybrid system works

Acoustic pathway

      A. The external sound processor sends low frequency sounds to the acoustic component

      B. The acoustic component amplifies the low frequency sounds and sends them via the normal hearing pathway

      C. The amplified sounds activate the hearing nerves

      D. The nerve hearing response caused by electrical and acoustic stimulation is sent to the brain which combines them into a perceived sound

  • What are the benefits of electro-acoustic implants?

    People with the Hybrid System have reported performance benefits including:

    • better understanding of speech in quiet surroundings, in noisy situations1
    • increased appreciation of music2

    In addition, greater awareness of environmental sounds is experienced – from important sounds like alarms, doorbells and approaching vehicles, to the subtle sounds of nature, such as rain, birds chirping or dogs barking.

Disclaimer

Please seek advice from your medical practitioner or health professional about treatments for hearing loss. They will be able to advise on a suitable solution for the hearing loss condition. All products should be used only as directed by your medical practitioner or health professional. 

Not all products are available in all countries. Please contact your local Cochlear representative.

Footnotes

  1. Cochlear discussion paper. Interim Result from international multi-centre clinical trial. October 2011.
  2. Gantz, B.J., Turner, C.W., Gfeller, K.E., & Lowder, M. (2005). Preservation of hearing in cochlear implant surgery: Advantages of combined electrical and acoustical speech processing, The Laryngoscope, 115, 796-802.