by Neil Bauman, Ph.D.
A man asked:
Which is better, hearing aids or cochlear implants?
The true answer is “It depends.” You see, it’s not hearing aids or cochlear implants, rather its typically hearing aids first and then, when your hearing aids no longer significantly help you hear, its time to see about getting cochlear implants.
If hearing aids can significantly help you, you are typically not eligible for cochlear implants. However, when your hearing aids no longer significantly help you, its time for you to investigate getting cochlear implants.
To be eligible for cochlear implants, as a rule of thumb (and the rules keep changing), the hearing in your better ear has to be severe or profound, your word recognition has to be under 40% and hearing aids cannot significantly help you.
Incidentally, some new research has revealed that getting a cochlear implant in your worse ear and wearing a hearing aid in your better ear can produce better directionality of sound, better understanding of music and speech and more natural sounds than getting two cochlear implants—at least in some people. Therefore, the answer to your question may be—get one of each if you are eligible.