Implantable Hearing Solutions
COCHLEAR PROVIDER NETWORK
Collegeville Speech and Hearing has joined forces with Penn Medicine and the Cochlear Provider Network (CPN) to provide a comprehensive set of hearing health solutions beyond everyday hearing aids. For patients whose hearing aids no longer provide meaningful benefit, the Doctors of Audiology at Collegeville Speech and Hearing can assess candidacy for implantable hearing solutions, as well as programming services and ongoing care for the implanted device after surgery, all in their Collegeville office. Collegeville Speech and Hearing was the first private audiology clinic in Pennsylvania to be a part of the Cochlear Provider Network.
WHAT IS A COCHLEAR IMPLANT?
A cochlear implant is an electronic device that provides a sense of sound to a person with sensorineural hearing impairment who no longer receives benefit from traditional hearing aids. Cochlear implants differ from hearing aids. Hearing aids simply amplify sound which can cause distortion in a damaged ear. Cochlear implants bypass the damaged portion of the ear and directly stimulates the auditory nerve.
The implant system consists of internal and external components:
(1) The external piece, the processor, looks similar to a hearing aid and sits behind the ear. The microphones on the sound processor captures the sound and converts it into digital code.
(2) This information is transmitted through the coil to the internal implant just under the skin.
(3) The implant converts the coded information to electrical signals and sends them to the electrode array positioned in the cochlea.
(4) The electrodes stimulate the auditory nerve which sends signals to the brain where they are interpreted as sound.
Image courtesy of Cochlear Americas
WHAT IS THE PROCESS?
Before one can begin the cochlear implant process, they must go through a candidacy evaluation. The audiologist will be perform comprehensive testing to evaluate current hearing levels, speech and sentence understanding, hearing aid benefit and vestibular function. The surgeons will assess the candidate’s health, complete a medical evaluation of the ears, determine the most appropriate electrode array, and explain the surgical process.
WHAT TO EXPECT FOR SURGERY?
Cochlear implant surgery is an outpatient procedure typically done under general anesthesia and lasting only a couple of hours.
WHAT WILL OCCUR FOLLOWING COCHLEAR IMPLANT SURGERY?
A Doctor of Audiology will activate the external components of the cochlear implant system approximately 4 weeks after surgery. Several follow up appointments may be necessary to fine tune the programming of the processor. Therapy may be recommended on an individual basis.
BONE CONDUCTION IMPLANTS
WHAT IS BAHA?
The Baha system is another type of hearing implant; however, this system uses bone conduction. Bone conduction bypasses the damaged part of the outer or middle ear, sending clearer and crisp sounds directly to the inner ear.
YOU MAY BE A CANDIDATE IF YOU EXPERIENCE ONE OR MORE OF THE FOLLOWING ISSUES:
- Single-Sided Deafness
- Conductive hearing
- Mixed hearing loss
- Draining Ears
- Malformed ears and/or ear canals
- Trouble getting sufficient loudness with hearing aid use
- Distorted sound quality with hearing aid use.
HOW DOES THE BAHA SYSTEM WORK?
The sound processor captures the sound within the air. The processor turns these sounds into vibrations and sends them through the bone into the inner ear.
There are two different types of Baha systems, the Baha Attract and Baha Connect.
In the Baha Attract system, a small titanium implant is placed in the bone behind your ear and is attached to an implant magnet just beneath the skin. The sound processor fits onto the magnet and attracts to the internal magnet in order to hold it in place.
The Baha Connect system is similar to the Attract system. A small titanium implant is placed on bone behind the ear and is attached to an abutment which is placed just above the skin.
WHAT IS THE PROCESS?
Unlike other implantable hearing devices, you have the opportunity to trial the Baha system before making the decision to move forward. During your candidacy evaluation, the Doctor of Audiology will demonstrate what it sounds like to listen with a Baha, so you can experience the benefit first-hand.
WHAT IS THE PROCEDURE?
The outpatient surgery is typically done under general anesthesia and lasts less than one hour. In only a few days, most people are back to their normal activities.
WHAT TO EXPECT AFTER SURGERY?
The Doctor of Audiology will fit you with the external components of the Baha system. This will occur several weeks after surgery and depend on the type of Baha system. The Doctor of Audiology will program the processor to your specific hearing needs. Patients are typically seen for programming 1-2 times after activation, then on an annual basis.