Cochlear implants in sacramento

There exist a range of corrective treatments for those who are deaf or hard of hearing. Of these solutions, hearing aids are arguably the most popular. They work by amplifying sound, allowing the wearer to hear more clearly; This hearing assistive technology is best suited for those with mild to moderate hearing loss.

But in cases where the inner ear’s infrastructure is damaged, simple sound amplification is not enough. You may have to explore more aggressive treatment options – like cochlear implants.


What Are Cochlear Implants?

The cochlea is the “sensory organ” of the inner ear responsible for hearing. Its unique spiral shape is reminiscent of a snail shell, (which is how it gets its name – Greek word for “snail” is kokhliās).

Vibrational hairs located inside the cochlea convert the mechanical energy of sound waves to electrical impulses and ultimately send to the brain for processing – this is how we are able to hear.

Whether from an infection, aging, medications, or prolonged exposure to loud noises, damage to these vibrational hairs makes it impossible for audio signals to reach the brain, resulting in severe to total hearing loss.

Cue the cochlear implant – a medical hearing aid that, when surgically implanted in the head, allows the wearer to receive and process auditory information in a better way so that speech is more clear than with a hearing aid.

How Do Cochlear Implants Work?

Cochlear implants perform the same basic function as the inner ear’s cochlea. But instead of using vibrational hairs to send information to the brain, cochlear implants bypass the damaged portion of the inner ear completely.

Instead, each implant receives audio information through an external microphone before converting it into a digital signal. This signal is then transmitted across the scalp to the internal implant as electrical impulses and stimulate the auditory nerve directly – where it finally reaches the brain for sound processing.

Note that the audio fidelity will never reach 100%. But for those who are deaf or hard of hearing, cochlear implants make it possible to receive, process and understand a much broader spectrum of sounds.

Do I Need Cochlear Implants?

Not everyone is a good candidate for cochlear implants. And before moving forward, it’s important that you’re aware of the pros and cons of this corrective hearing solution.

But the best way to determine whether cochlear implants are right for you is through comprehensive testing. At The Hearing Solution, for example, we run all of our patients through a 2-hour diagnostic evaluation that allows us to examine both the:

1. Type of hearing loss

2. Health of the cochlea

3. Performance of your hearing aids

If cochlear implants are necessary, we will design a treatment solution including:

  • Receiving the procedure from one of the expert surgeons on our team
  • Follow-up counseling and auditory training at our Sacramento clinic

Depending on the results of this screening, we may determine that hearing aids are a more suitable option and you do not need surgery. In fact, this is often the case – especially among patients who were previously outfitted with hearing aids that weren’t properly customized and fitted for the wearer.

This is why comprehensive screening is so important. The most appropriate hearing loss treatment must be carefully tailored for the individual.

Pros & Cons of Cochlear Implants

Before exploring cochlear implants as a treatment solution, it is important that you appreciate both the advantages and disadvantages of this assistive hearing technology.

Click here to read our full blog post on cochlear implant expectations and outcomes

Have Your Hearing Tested Today

If you'd like to learn whether cochlear implants can help you hear the world more clearly, schedule a cochlear implant evaluation with us today.


Sacramento Remote cochlear implant programming

If your cochlear implants aren't working they like they used to, you may need to get them remapped. With our remote cochlear implant programming service, you can now get your cochlear implants reprogrammed from the comfort of your own home. 

Telehealth Cochlear Implant Mapping

Cochlear implants need regular check-ups and reprogramming sessions to continue working effectively and properly.

Traveling to a cochlear implant clinic to receive the necessary programming and follow-up counseling for your cochlear implant can be time-consuming (many CI patients travel between 2-4 hours to their audiologist for mapping!) and it can be costly if time off work is needed to attend. In the COVID-19 era, we can add in the extra risk of in-person contact during appointments.

To help our patients receive the care and full benefits of their hearing aids, we've teamed up with Dr. Melanie Gilbert, a cochlear implant (CI) audiologist, to provide remote CI remapping services.  

As a research audiologist, Dr. Gilbert has more than a decade of experience with all cochlear implant manufacturers, expertise in music perception, and a passion for individualizing CI programming. 

With recent improvements in telehealth technology, remote CI programming is now possible - and available from the comfort of your own home.

The benefits of remote cochlear implant remapping

There are many different benefits of receiving cochlear implant services in your own home. 

It can be incredibly useful for the audiologist to see you in your "natural habitat", and discuss the listening and hearing challenges specific to your lifestyle. 

Telehealth visits can also reduce the necessary travel expenses and time in transit. If you work during the day, appointments can be scheduled on evenings and weekends to make sure you receive the care and treatment you need.

How does telehealth cochlear implant programming work?

You can book your appointment online.

We'll then ship a laptop with cables that connect to your processor(s). 

During the initial session, your audiologist will learn all about you and your history. She will analyze your current maps with the problems you are having. If reprogramming is recommended, the audiologist will use remote control of the equipment to program your hearing aid(s).

Once reprogrammed, a shipment label will be provided to return the laptop and cables back to us.

How much does remote CI mapping cost?

There's a $190 fee for our initial remote appointment - which we cannot bill to your insurance. This fee includes shipping of the equipment to your door and the return shipment label to send it back. One hour is allotted for this appointment.

If additional time beyond the one hour is needed, it is billed at $100/hour in 15-minute increments. A sliding scale is available.

Please note: Due to licensing, The Hearing Solution can only serve patients in California.

If you'd like to learn whether cochlear implants can help you hear the world more clearly, schedule a cochlear implant evaluation with us today.


Frequently Asked Questions:

How tech savvy do you need to be to participate? What equipment is needed to do an in-home visit?

If you're not comfortable operating computers or handling the CI equipment, you should consider getting a "technology helper" to help you. This can be a friend, employee or family member. You, or your technology helper, needs to be able to turn on a laptop and connect it to the internet (usually to a wifi network, but ethernet cable is fine too). The audiologist will then provide instructions on how to connect the processor to the computer.

How does the level of service of telehealth compare to in-clinic visits?

Several research studies have shown that for basic programming and counseling, a telehealth visit is just as effective as an in-person visit.

Is remote CI mapping safe?

The clinician has full control of the cochlear implant during the visit, so it is completely safe.

Is remote CI programming safe during COVID-19?

Yes, there are safeguards in place to make sure equipment is cleaned and disinfected prior to each visit to ensure compliance with COVID-19 best practice.

How does the cost of remote CI remapping compare to the current model?

It depends on the insurance you have, get in touch for information specific to your needs.