Hearing devices differs from hearing implants in the way they work.
Hearing aids receive and amplify sounds to a volume which allow the wearer to hear.
Hearing implants require surgery and are inserted under the skin behind the ear, with additional audio processors worn outside. This processor picks up sounds from the environment and convert them into digital information for the implant. Implant then sends electrical signals to the inner ear (cochlea), stimulating the nerve fibers which in turn send information to the brain.
- Hearing aids are recommended for people with mild to moderately severe hearing loss, or when the patient has conductive hearing loss- where sounds cannot be transmitted through the ear canal effectively.
- Implants are recommended for those with severe to profound loss, or when hearing aids are no longer sufficient for the patient.
There are an estimated of 300 to 400 hearing implant users in Singapore, hearing aids users in the tens of thousands.