Information applicable for Australia and New Zealand. For other countries, please contact your local Cochlear office for further information.

Questions about a Hybrid Cochlear Implant?


Anyone considering a surgical procedure is naturally concerned about the outcomes. Below are questions which are most often asked by those considering a Hybrid Cochlear Implant.

For additional information, technical enquiries or advice please contact Cochlear Limited on 1800 620 929 (Toll Free) or visit the Cochlear website by clicking the menu botton, or email: Cochlear customer Service for information about Cochlear Implant Clinics.

Hybrid Implant

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Q

What is a Hybrid Cochlear Implant?

A
A Hybrid Cochlear Implant is part hearing aid and part Cochlear implant. It is an electroacoustic hearing solution.
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Q

How does a Hybrid Cochlear Implant work?

A
A Hybrid Cochlear implant uses two technologies - a hearing aid which amplifies sound and acoustically transmits the sound through the middle ear to the cochlea as well as cochlear implant technology which converts sound to electrical impulses directly stimulating the hearing nerve in the cochlea.
A Hybrid Cochlear implantee will hear the low frequencies amplified through the hearing aid and the high frequencies through the cochlear implant. This gives many recipients a near normal hearing experience.
Click on this link for more information about how a Cochlear Hybrid implant works
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Q

Why is a Hybrid Cochlear Implant different from a normal Cochlear Implant?

A
The Hybrid implant has a shorter implant array - the part which is inserted into the Cochlear - than the normal implant. This means the Hybrid implant preserves the hearing cells in the low frequencies allowing this to be stimulated accoustically. A person with a normal Cochlear Implant relies entirely upon the implant processor to change the sound to electrical impulses and transmit these to their cochlea. A person with a Hybrid implant only hears the high frequencies through the cochlear implant. The low frequencies are heard through the hearing aid.
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Q

Who will benefit from a Hybrid Cochlear Implant?

A
The Hybrid Cochlear Implant is a solution for high frequency hearing loss. Someone who has a high frequency loss but still has stable low frequency hearing will benefit. Age related hearing loss is generally in the high frequencies so many older people will benefit from this technology.
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Q

Will I be able to hear music with a Hybrid Cochlear Implant?

A
Music is complex and with the Hybrid Cochlear implant, because it returns a near normal hearing experience music is likely to sound better than it has for years.
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Q

How long does surgery take?

A
The process for Hybrid Cochlear Implant surgery is very similar to that of the usual Cochlear Implant surgery. The main difference is the array is shorter and therefore not inserted as far into the Cochlear. The majority of people report little discomfort and a quick recovery. It is important to discuss this with your surgeon.
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Q

Will I hear immediately after surgery?

A
It will take about two weeks for the surgery site to heal. Then you will visit the clinic where an audiologist will program your implant to your specific hearing needs and switch it on. At the same time they will fit your hearing aid. It may take some time for you to become used to the new stimulus and most cochlear implantees report improved hearing with time.
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Q

What are the risks of surgery?

A
There is a risk with all surgical procedures and it is important to discuss this with your surgeon. Some risks will be those applicable to any surgery performed under general anesthesia while others may be specific to the Cochlear Implantation process and the recipient's individual medical history.
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Q

What are the costs of the Hybrid Cochlear Implant? Will my Health Fund cover it?

A
Costs include the cost of the implant system; surgical costs, pre and post implant assessment and support. In Australia, individuals with private health cover are advised to check with their health fund. For non-private patients, it is best to discuss the options with your surgeon.
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Q

What are the steps to having a Hybrid Cochlear Implant?

A
  • Step 1: Make an appointment with a Cochlear Implant Clinic
  • Step 2: Your surgeon will complete a medical evaluation to make sure a Hybrid Cochlear Implant will suit your kind of deafness
  • Step 3: You will then see an audiologist and undergo hearing tests
  • Step 4: Your surgeon/clinic will schedule your operation
  • Step 5: The site will heal and then 2-5 weeks after surgery you receive your Hybrid Implant processor.
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Q

Will there be a big scar and will you be able to see it?

A
Any concerns you have about surgery should be discussed with your surgeon. As a general rule the surgery is done behind the ear and is usually only a small cut. For most people this heals as a thin line and is covered by your hair.
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Q

Will people see that I have the implant? Do I have to wear the coil on top of my hair?

A
The coil does not have to be worn on top of your hair. Processors come in colours to match your hair colour so they can be almost invisible to other people. The processor sits behind your ear and the coil sits above the implanted magnet. If you have very short hair, say short back and sides like many men, then the processor and coil may be visible. However, there isn't any reason why you can't grow your hair to cover both.
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Q

Will I be able to hear on the telephone?

A
Many people after a Cochlear Implant or a Hybrid Cochlear Implant successfully use the telephone. Whether you can or not will depend on your hearing loss and how successfully your brain adapts to the implant. Each Cochlear processor can be programmed to use a telecoil (t-switch) plus there are a number of cord adaptors which can be purchased which can make using a phone easier.
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