A hearing implant is a hearing device that is typically implanted into the ear. The types of hearing implants are: cochlear implants, bone conduction devices, middle ear implants and brain stem implants.
There are different types of hearing implants. The one which is most relevant for a person with hearing loss depends on the cause and the type of hearing loss. But in all cases, hearing implants are relevant when a person with a hearing loss would not benefit properly from the sound amplification of hearing aids or for some reason is unable to wear hearing aids.
The common types of hearing implants are:
- Cochlear implants (CI)
- Bone conduction devices
- Middle ear implants (MEI)
- Auditory brain stem implants (ABI)
Cochlear implants (CI) make it possible for people to hear and understand sounds even if they have damaged hair cells in the inner ear and have a severe or a profound hearing loss.
Bone conduction devices
Bone conduction devices convert sounds into vibrations that are sent directly into the inner ear via the bones in the head. Bone conduction devices bypass the outer ear and the middle ear. There are active and passive bone conduction devices. With an active device, the skin stays intact.
Middle ear implants
A middle ear implant (MEI) picks up sounds and converts them into vibrations which are sent to the middle ear and further into the inner ear.
Auditory brain stem implants
An auditory brainstem implant (ABI) is an implant that converts sounds into signals that are sent directly to the brain, bypassing the non-functioning or non-existent auditory nerve.
Surgery often needed
Most types of implants require a minor surgery or an operation. But some types of bone conduction devices can be worn and used without an operation.
Want to know more?
You can read more about the different types of hearing implants on these pages.
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