Hybrid hearing is a combination of hearing aid and cochlear implant technologies. This technology is available for individuals who still have the ability to hear lower frequencies but slope into the moderately severe to profound sensorineural hearing loss in the mid-high frequencies. These patients must meet cochlear implant criteria, which requires additional testing by an audiologist.
With any cochlear implant surgery, there may be residual hearing that is preserved in the lower frequencies. Residual hearing means that even though the patient is suffering from a hearing loss, some hearing is still functional. This happens because not all of the hair cells that provide the ability to hear sound are damaged or missing. (Check out this video for more about how the ear works.) So in the case of a cochlear implant patient, they are still able to hear lower frequencies. After the patient is implanted, they will have their hearing tested again to determine how much (if any) hearing is preserved so that this technology can be discussed.
Hybrid cochlear implants use acoustic amplification of the natural low-frequency hearing the patient may have after surgery while taking advantage of cochlear implant technology to restore access to the high-frequency sounds they are missing. By attaching an EAS/EAC (electro-acoustic stimulator, electro-acoustic component) to the front of the cochlear implant, it allows the cochlear implant to act as BOTH a cochlear implant and hearing aid, which is called “Hybrid Hearing”.
All three cochlear implant manufacturers have this option for their cochlear implant processors. Each manufacturer’s product looks different.
Hybrid hearing combines powerful technologies to help many people improve their hearing. Find out if hybrid hearing can help you! Call Arizona Hearing Center at 602-277-4327 for more information.