How are cochlear implants different from hearing aids

Lucky are we that technology has brought solutions to our problems.For people with hearing impairment, the advent of hearing aids is such a very welcome technological advancement. And then, there are cochlear implants, a seemingly more advanced relief to hearing loss problems, which you are probably considering right now knowing you’re here reading this.

But how are cochlear implants different from hearing aids?

Meant for people with hearing impairment

Like hearing aids, cochlear implants are devices that help people with hearing loss.

Offer relief, not restore

Both of them do not and cannot restore hearing loss. Instead, they provide a sense of sound to people who are having trouble hearing their surroundings. One of the differences of the two, however, is that cochlear implants need surgery.

Surgical and non-surgical

The internal part of the implant system is planted behind the ear. Unlike hearing aids, cochlear implant will be part of a person’s life. The external part, the sound processor, can be removed for fitting and adjustment, but the internal will always stay under the skin behind the ear.


When you use hearing aids, you have the option to take it on and off whenever you need to. With cochlear implant, however, you are limited to just taking the external part on and off. Therefore, choosing to do a cochlear implant surgery requires a firm decision from your end and should not be taken lightly.

From one option to another

Cochlear implants are considered when hearing aids are not sufficient anymore, especially in cases of serious hearing loss. This is basically for people whose hearing loss is profoundly severe.

Way of delivering sound

While hearing aids have tips that sit in the ear canal, cochlear implants work by having the cochlea, depending on surgical techniques, inserted with an electrode array that receives the electrical signal from a receiver-stimulator that takes the signal from the speech processor. The electrode array emits electric pulses that stimulate the auditory nerve fibres which nervous signal it generates is forwarded to the brain for analysis and interpretation.

Speech therapy and rehabilitation

After cochlear implantation, speech therapy and rehabilitation are highly recommended. This starts with a frequent schedule up to as minimal as an annual visit. But all these are to monitor the progress and continued fine-tuning of the sound processor to meet hearing requirements.


Most of the recipients of the cochlear implant tried hearing aids first. If hearing aids can no longer provide the maximum hearing relief, cochlear surgery is considered.

To know whether you are in need of this surgery, you have to undergo through audiologic testing, medical examination, X-Ray or MRI. An appointment with your preferred cochlear implantation centre will help you get through this stage.

Both hearing aids and cochlear implants are beneficial for people suffering from hearing loss. Whether to go for hearing aids or cochlear implant, it is up to you. It would help you greatly, however, if you can get a hearing specialist to check your case.

You can visit Listening Lab for a cochlear implant assessment.

About The Listening Lab

Listening Lab is a home-grown company whose mission is to help our clients restore their hearing to enjoy the life that they desire. Experiencing hearing loss can be detrimental to one’s quality of life. Hence we commit to providing high-quality hearing solutions.

Our hearing solutions include hearing tests and treatment and prescribing hearing aids. Clients may come to get their hearing checked, and we will assess whether hearing aids are required.

If hearing aids are required, clients can choose from a variety of the best hearing aid brands we provide. Each of the products offers unique features that complement daily use and perform well in helping our clients enjoy the life that they desire.


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Initially I started with Phonak hearing aid. It helps amplified the sound and I could hear better then. Somehow, my hearing loss deteriorated further that in late 2012 (43 years old), there was profound loss of hearing on my right ear. Even digital hearing aid could not help. On my left ear there is still about 50% to 60% hearing with hearing aid. I was lost at this point of time. I was considering learning sign language. I went to see my ENT specialist and my audiologist Mr. Bala advised me to go for an CI as an alternative to my hearing loss.

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My mum, Madam Kek (73 year old) had the Cochlear implant (CI) done on her left side in 10th September 2019. Thereafter, thanks to the subsequent auditory verbal therapy, evaluation from SGH ENT team, as well as, the support from AB's and Listening Lab staffs; Madam Kek was able to hear, comprehend sound and music from her Cochlear implant, Naida CI Q90, and hearing aid (HA), Naida Link UP, for her right side before end year. We are happy that both the CI and HA have improved mum qualify of life. Now Madam Kek is looking forward to work again to pass her time as she can hear and better communicate with others.
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