Hearing Aids Vs Cochlear Implants: What's Right for Children?


Hearing Aids Vs Cochlear Implants: What's Right for Children?

Hearing loss can occur due to a variety of reasons and it can affect people of any age. Today, millions of people are affected by hearing problems all over the world. The two options to choose from are hearing aids and cochlear implants. You might be wondering whether hearing aids or cochlear implants are best for your child. Each of these has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. This article will help you understand what the two are in detail along with their pros and cons.




What Are Hearing Aids And Cochlear Implants?

Hearing aids and cochlear implants enable people with hearing loss problems to communicate with ease. Many people think these are the same but that is not the case. Hearing aids are for people who have mild hearing loss whereas cochlear implants are recommended for those who experience moderate or severe hearing loss. 

People who need hearing aids can have a problem in their inner, middle, or outer ear. People who need cochlear implants have hearing problems due to a problem in the hearing nerve or the inner ear. Hearing aids can help with hearing restoration while hearing can only be stimulated in the case of cochlear implants.

Hearing Aids

Hearing aids help people hear better. They help to increase the volume so you can hear more clearly. Some hearing aids help to eliminate ambience sounds which enable better hearing. Hearing aids are small instruments that can fit around your ear and in your ear. Today, digital hearing aids are being used more commonly. These use technology that determines the pitch and volume of the sound and then helps amplify certain sounds while decreasing other sounds. Analog hearing aids convert sound waves to electrical signals while digital hearing aids convert sound waves to codes which then determine whether the sound should be amplified or not.

Pros
 Hearing aids are cheaper than cochlear implants.
• You can wear them when you are exercising although precautions must be taken.
• Hearing aids can help lessen the symptoms of tinnitus.
• You can remove them if you experience any discomfort.
• There are various options available.
• You can easily remove hearing aids before surgery or other medical procedures.
• It takes about two weeks to get used to hearing aids.

Cons
• Some hearing aids can be expensive.
 They might require to be refit as the child grows.
• Cleaning of hearing aids is necessary and the frequency will vary from individual to individual.
 Unnecessary feedback makes it difficult to hear with the help of hearing aids.

Cochlear implants
Cochlear implants are for people who have severe hearing loss problems. Cochlear implants are implanted behind the ear under the skin. People think that cochlear implants help restore hearing but that is not the case. Cochlear implants have two parts. 

The first is the outer section through which the sound is received and then processing of the sound received is done. The second part is when the processed data is received which is then turned into electric impulses. This is then sent to the brain through the auditory nerve. When the brain receives these impulses it interprets them as sound.

Pros
• Cochlear implants help you understand what the other person is saying easily.
• It is great for people who cannot benefit from hearing aids.
 It is good for children since they won’t be able to take it off from their ear. 

Cons
• Cochlear implants are expensive.
• You need to take a lot of care when compared to hearing aids.
• Cochlear implants might require additional surgeries and many risks are involved.
• You need to spend time learning how to use it.
• It can take up to a year to get used to cochlear implants.
• There are many precautions you need to keep in mind with cochlear implants.
• You can experience side effects such as hearing loss, lightheadedness, and even paralysis.

What you choose for your child will depend on the severity of the hearing loss and which option is more economical for you. Hearing aids are best for your child if you want something that he can remove in case of any problem and if the hearing loss is mild to moderate. 

However, if hearing loss is severe then cochlear implants may be the best option as your child will be able to experience sound like never before. They are expensive but they provide a better experience. You should speak to an ENT to find out the severity of your child’s hearing loss and which option is the best for your child.

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