Treatments for Hearing Loss
Removable Hearing Aids continued...
These hearing aids aren't a good idea for young children because their outer ears are still growing.
In-canal. This type is best for mild to moderately severe hearing loss. They’re small enough to fit inside your ear canal. This makes them far less visible than other hearing aids. But their size makes them harder for some people to adjust and remove. They’re also less powerful than larger ones, and they usually can’t have a telecoil.
Surgically Implanted Hearing Devices
Doctors can put some hearing technologies even farther inside your ear to send more sound vibrations to your inner ear. These options include:
Middle ear implants. A surgeon attaches a small device to one of the bones of your middle ear so it can move them directly, which sends stronger sound vibrations to the inner ear. The implants help people with sensorineural hearing loss.
These implants are one of the newest advances, so it's important to speak to a specialist who has experience putting them in. Because they go in the middle ear, they're almost completely hidden. They also don't cause feedback and can stay in place when you swim or bathe, depending on the type of implant you have.
Bone-anchored hearing aids. These go into the bone behind the ear, where they transmit sound into the inner ear through the skull. These devices are usually recommended for people with:
- Hearing loss in one ear
- Problems with the shape of their ear canals
- Conductive or mixed hearing loss with long-term ear infections
Cochlear implants. If the inner ear has severe damage, even the most powerful hearing aid can't restore your hearing. In that case, your doctor may recommend a cochlear implant. These bypass damaged parts of the ear and send signals directly to your auditory nerve that relays sound to the brain. A cochlear implant has a microphone that goes behind the ear and a transmitter that goes under the skin. Sound information goes to electrodes that a doctor puts in your inner ear through surgery.
These implants can help adults who are deaf or severely hearing-impaired. They can also help children with profound hearing loss have better speech and language skills. But it often takes time and practice to interpret the signals they send to the brain.