Sound of Silence Vs. Sounds of Joy

Hybrid cochlear implants may offer patients sounds of joy

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Imagine watching videos on your computer without the option of sound. How about watching American Idol without sound? That is what it's like for the hard of hearing. What if the darkness of silence could be replaced with sounds of joy?

People who do not meet the criteria for cochlear implants but are still hard of hearing, can now exchange muted sounds for the sounds of joy.

"Investigate hybrid cochlear implants for improved hearing."

Northwestern Medicine neurologist and principal investigator of this study Andrew Fishman, MD is hopeful that the hybrid cochlear implant will provide for a subset of people who do not qualify as candidates for cochlear implants the opportunity to test the hybrid cochlear device.

Patients with a significant amount of residual hearing but also a significant amount of high-frequency hearing loss may have an alternative to hearing aids.

In Depth

  • Cochlear implants were FDA approved in 1984 as a treatment option for restoring hearing in people with severe and profound hearing loss. Signals are transmitted to implant electrodes in the cochlea, which stimulate the nerve endings so sound can be perceived by the brain
  • The hybrid cochlear implant works in the same way as traditional cochlear implants, stimulating nerve endings in the cochlear so that high-pitched sounds can be heard. It also involves amplification for low-pitched sounds, similar to a hearing aid
  • Like traditional cochlear implants, the hybrid version is worn outside the ear and converts sounds into acoustic and electric signals
Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
April 23, 2011
Last Updated:
April 28, 2011