Do I Need A Hearing Aid Implant?

Updated November 4, 2016 – This questions was asked in our “ask the expert” section and we thought it would be helpful to promote it to the homepage. If you have a question about hearing loss or hearing aids please don’t hesitate to click on the image Got Questions? Expert Answers, we will do our very best to help you.

I have tried wearing a Siemen behind the ear model. I lost it numerous times in the first week,as I wear glasses frequently and I believe I knock it off when removing or putting on the glasses. with that said I’m wondering about surgery that I heard is available to implant some type of device. Is this fairly common and how is the results.

A BTE hearing aid (properly fitted) should not be effected by your glasses.  Either the fitting was incorrect or your ear is MUCH smaller than normal.  If the fitting is incorrect, the professional should be able to correct that in a matter of minutes.  If your ear is too small (area behind the ear) then there are several really nice small BTE units available from a couple of companies.  The two that come to mind first are Oticon and Starkey. Both have a unit that requires only a size #10 battery (the small battery size allows for small hearing aids, but also reduces battery life).  The starkey unit is available in all of the X series models under the Zino label.  These units range from the basic 7 to the top of the line 11 series.  The lower the number, the less vibrant the background noise feature is and the less control the professional has over the details of the programming.  The Oticon is available in several of their circuits from the past couple of years and will very in name and features.

 

There are three basic types of surgeries from the implantation of hearing devices. Two are not for people who are sensitive about the way the unit looks.  The BAHA is a bone anchored hearing aid that attaches to the skull and is used for people with milder hearing losses.  The second is the Cocular Implant for people who have little or no hearing left.  These are very expensive and are most likely out of range for anyone without incredible insurance coverage.  The Esteem has been heavily advertised and we have no direct knowledge of any patient with the product.  It is implanted in the middle ear cavity and functions like a hearing aid.  You can find information on the product on line.  We have been told that the product is about $15,000 an ear and needs to be replaced within a few years.  The high point would be that it is “invisible”, but it would seem that the cost is beyond most people.  Research it on line and ask your Neurosurgeon.

 

Starkey has a unit that is a very small CIC (Completely In The Canal) unit that has met with some success.  That product is a little more expensive than the regular CIC and is available in only the top of the line circuit package.  An experienced professional would be able to successfully fit this unit, but it requires special training of their part.  There is also a unit called the Lyric that is more along the lines of a semi-perminate implantable.  The unit is implanted by the professional and the patient wears it for about a month and a half.  The unit is removed by the professional and replaced with a new one at that time.  You do not buy the Lyric, you purchase a service agreement that allows for a number of replacements each year.  The cost of the service agreement is much higher over several years than purchasing a hearing aid outright.
You could also look at the huge number of IN THE EAR, IN THE CANAL and COMPLETELY IN THE CANAL hearing aids that are available in a wide range of qualities and prices.

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