Cochlear Implants vs HA Users: Study

I have been using HAs for about seven years. I hear fairly well in a quiet environment, but if several people are talking, I am totally lost. Is anyone aware of any studies done where people have previously had traditional HAs, and then have switched to Cochlear Implants. Is their hearing better? My concern is that Cochlear implants are not reversible. Another Question: Is it ever the situation where Cochlear implants are done in one ear only?

Most insurance co. only pay for one Cochlear implant and you have to jump though a lot of hoops to get the second one. My sisters, sister in law has one Cochlear implant and is now jumping though a lot of hoops trying to get the second implant and so far has been denied more than once and she is basically deaf in the bad ear.

There are criteria you must meet in order to be a CI candidate. You really can get very little benefit from a HA before they will consider a CI. It doesn’t sound the same as a HA and there are plenty of people out there who get implanted and then get zero benefit from the implant and then they are left with a completely dead ear.

You also need to be severe to profound across all frequencies in hearing loss which is 70db to 120db. Your loss seems too good…

Most CI centres want you to be wearing the most powerful hearing aid to show you don’t benefit from HAs.

One guy on all deaf forums wore HAs that went up to 100db and altho his loss fitted the hearing aids, the CI audiologist said he won’t qualify for a CI until he wears a more powerful HA. He now does wear more powerful HAs and now gets more benefit and has left the CI route for the future. All to do with how much room there is for compression I believe.

Maybe best to try other hearing aids.

Hearing aids are ALWAYS preferable to a CI.

If you can derive benefit from a HA, that’s the way to go.

I will say that the criteria regarding severity of loss is less than what it used to be, I believe you can actually have a moderate HL in lower frequencies, but if there is little to no benefit from wearing a hearing aid, then a CI might be an option.

From my understanding, insurance companies won’t agree to fund you if you have a moderate loss even just in low frequencies. There answer will be, to try better hearing aids.

There telling people with a profound loss that they can’t have CIs as they scored 46% with speech and the cut off is usually 40%.

Insurance payment requirements and the criteria set forth by the implant company are two different things…this is the candidacy (briefly) as written on the Cochlear website:

Adults: 18 years and over
Severe-to-profound sensorineural hearing loss in both ears
Receive little or no useful benefit from hearing aids
Qualified candidates are those scoring, with a hearing aid, 50 percent or less on sentence recognition tests in the ear to be implanted and 60 percent or less in the non-implanted ear or bilaterally.

So sometimes a person might have a moderate sloping to profound SNHL but get 30% on the speech testing, they would be a potential candidate. Also, there are people who have corner audiograms where they might have a moderate then severe then profound thresholds at 250/500/750Hz, and no response beyond that…technically they have some moderate hearing loss but no functional benefit from hearing aids…also could be a potential candidate. Really there is some gray area when it comes to CI implant candidacy - the key is how someone does with a hearing aid. If you can get benefit from a HA it will always be preferable to the CI.

If your main difficulties are in noise you could try communication training such as speech reading which could potentially assist you. You could also consider assistive listening devices, such as an FM system with a multi talker network.

A CI is not going to provide you with better speech understanding in noise based on current technology, given your degree of hearing loss.

If there’s nothing more that can be done with your hearing aids there are other devices that may perform better in noise, but group conversations can be challenging in general whether you’re hearing impaired or not, so perhaps adopting different communication strategies might be the best place to start.

I find my FM system great in noise. Also UltraZoom on my Naidas helps me loads in noise :slight_smile: Best hearing aids ever for me :slight_smile:

My dad always says even hearing people have trouble hearing in noise so stop moaning!

Good point. I too sometimes forget this and want super hearing.