Cochlear implants have been around for a number of years, and they have become more mainstream with the gradual acceptance by the public as well as insurance companies which have been able to document their benefit to patients. Since hearing is one of the critical senses of human beings, the whole spectrum of hearing aids has evolved from “ITE” (in-the-ear) to “BTE (behind the hear), and more recently, to “CIC” (completely in canal). These three hearing aids basically amplify sound going into the auditory canal and into the cilia in the cochlea, which transfers the sound to the brain via the auditory nerve.
The two types of implanted hearing assisted devices are those that rely on the transfer of sound through the temporal bone of the skull (osseointegrated temporal bone implant) such as the Baha from Cochlear Americas and those that bypass the auditory canal and deliver sound information to the brain directly (cochlear implants) such as the Nucleus from Cochlear America. The difference between the hearing aids and implants is that the implants capture sounds through an external microphone and transfer it to the cochlea or auditory nerve by bypassing the auditory canal.