Cochlear Implant vs Hearing Aid fitting

The main fundamental differences between Cochlear Implant and Hearing Aid fitting are

  1. In Cochlear Implants the dynamic range of recipients is small compared to the inter-subject variability of thresholds.
  2. In cochlear implants there is no direct relation between hearing loss and desired device output; therefore thresholds need to be measured with the device.

These two factors determine that in Cochlear Implant fitting there is no 'prescription rule' that can give a guide for initial fitting and that a fitting that is wrong can be either inaudible of (painfully!) loud. However part of the difference between Cochlear Implant and Hearing Aid fitting is also caused by differences in terminology that sometimes have more historical than theoretical reasons.

As the joint fitting of cochlear implants and acoustic hearing aids becomes more common, it is likely that fitting approach es for these two classes of prosthesis will become more closely linked. This seems especially likely in the use of perceptual testing methods (e.g. speech reception in noise) in the fine-tuning of prostheses. Research into combined hearing aid and cochlear implant fitting within the HearCom project is described here.

 One example of the merging of Hearing Aid and Cochlear Implant fitting is Cochlear's HearingMentor™. Hearing Mentor is an expert guide that provides clinicians with a list of commonly reported (by recipients) sound quality deficiencies together with recommended solutions the clinician can implement via the software. This feature also has the option to automatically apply the suggested solution. Solutions like this have been commonly used in the Hearing Aid field but are new to Cochlear Implant fitting.

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