Most people who have a single cochlear implant are not fortunate enough to enjoy good natural hearing in their opposite ear. However, it’s clear we were born with two ears for a reason; so, what are the options for hearing with two ears when you meet the criteria for a CI in only one?
The benefits of binaural hearing (hearing with both ears) are well documented and proven through research.
The benefits of binaural hearing are clear. But it’s common for someone to have different hearing losses in their two ears so that the same solution isn’t ideal for both sides. What then?
In fact, a whole range of possibilities! Wearing a CI in one ear and a hearing aid or Baha® in the other is likely to give you better hearing than your CI alone. This is called a bimodal approach because it combines two different modes of stimulation. And, with Cochlear’s True Wireless™ Devices, it’s possible to stream to a hearing aid (ReSound) and your Cochlear implant simultaneously.
Research has highlighted that a single cochlear implant is more effective when it is worn alongside a hearing aid. The hearing aid provides important acoustic input, particularly from low frequencies, to complement what you hear with your cochlear implant. This helps you recognise and identify voices better and makes it easier to appreciate the melody of music. Using a hearing aid in your non-implanted ear is also critical to keep your brain in practice with interpreting binaural inputs and improve the chances of a better hearing outcome if you later get a second CI.
If you wear only one CI and you don’t support your hearing in your non-implanted ear, we suggest you discuss this as soon as possible with your clinic.
It’s very important that your rehabilitation includes activities to practice your binaural listening experience. There are lots of ways to do this – here are some examples:
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