Hearing Innovation – Hybrid Cochlear Implants
Hearing aids can be extremely beneficial to hearing health as a whole, but sometimes It takes more to improve the underlying problem. That’s where hybrid cochlear implants come in. Hybrid cochlear implants help those with a common form of hearing impairment not helped with the use of hearing aids.
A study conducted by specialists in NYU Lagone Medical Center placed hybrid cochlear implants in 50 men and women. The participants of the study had significant damage of the inner-ear cells. The resulting damage done to the ear cells prevented the participants from understanding speech properly. Throughout the course of a year with the implant, 45 of the participants showed signs of improvement with speech and hearing. The remaining 5 showed no improvement, but had no further damage done.
As the name suggests, the hearing innovation combines the technology of hearing aids and cochlear implants to amplify acoustics that are regularly heard through hearing aids. The resulting effect of the hybrid hearing device is said to be more impactful than just a hearing aid on it’s own because it allows users to hear high-frequency noises that in their surroundings.
In essence, the hybrid implant is unlike any other hearing device because it has a shorter electrode that does not have to directly be inserted into the cochlea. The device enhances low-frequency sounds, all the while augmenting high-frequency sounds through electrical stimulation for a more natural sensation in comparison to other device experiences.
Although the study had its own obstacles to overcome, participants’ scores rose from an average of 21% to 67% a year after implantation. Even in it’s early stages, the hybrid cochlear implant is proving to be the future of hearing technology, especially for those individuals who have not benefitted from hearing aids and have difficulty hearing surrounding speech.