Sound & Style: Cochlear Implants in Popular Culture

Sound & Style: Cochlear Implants in Popular Culture

by | Jun 27, 2023 | Cochlear Implants, Patient Resources

As cochlear implants (CIs) become more prevalent, they are gradually gaining visibility in popular culture, media, and fashion.

In this article, we will explore the presence of CIs in these spheres, discuss real-life stories of implant recipients, and address the use of hearing aids in conjunction with CIs.

CIs in Fashion and Pop Culture

Several high-profile celebrities and influencers with CIs have helped raise awareness and acceptance of the technology.

Their stories inspire and encourage others to consider CIs as a viable solution for hearing loss.

One such example of this is actor and bodybuilder Lou Ferrigno, who was nearly brought to tears by the positive impact CIs had on his hearing.

“When I have a moment of downtime I really enjoy watching videos on my iPad.

Thanks to my Cochlear Americas cochlear implant, I can now differentiate different sounds, inflections and tones so well.”

CIs have been featured in various media outlets, including television shows, movies, and news articles, helping to educate the public about the benefits and challenges associated with the devices.

Films like A Quiet Place and Sweet Nothing in My Ear work CIs into their narratives to show their usefulness, but they also go a long way in normalizing them.

Social media platforms and online communities provide a space for individuals with CIs to connect, share experiences, and offer support. These networks play a crucial role in normalizing CIs and fostering a sense of belonging.

Is Cochlear Implantation the Right Decision?

Real-life stories of CI recipients offer valuable insights into the decision-making process and the impact of the technology on their lives.

Radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh acknowledged in 2001 that he had almost gone completely deaf, but was able to regain much of his hearing with the help of a CI.

Individuals may choose cochlear implantation for various reasons, including a desire to improve communication, enjoy music, or enhance overall quality of life.

While the journey to better hearing can be challenging, many CI recipients find the rewards—such as improved communication, increased independence, and richer social interactions—to be well worth the effort.

Start your journey towards better hearing

Can You Use a Hearing Aid With a Cochlear Implant?

Hearing aids are devices that amplify sound for individuals with a range of hearing loss. They can be worn in the ear or behind the ear and come in various styles and technologies.

While both hearing aids and CIs can help improve hearing, CIs are designed for individuals with moderate to profound hearing loss who cannot generally benefit from hearing aids.

However, an effective treatment for some individuals with hearing loss is to pair a CI in one ear with a traditional hearing aid in the other ear. When an ear has little or no open-set speech understanding by itself, amplification with a hearing aid has proven to be helpful.

Combining the electric and acoustic signals can result in the highest level of speech comprehension and sound quality.

By pairing these devices, patients have reported improved speech understanding, with up to a 20% improvement in single-word recognition and a 30% improvement in sentence recognition in noisy environments.

Binaural hearing can also be improved, allowing for better sound localization by comparing the arrival time of sound at the two ears.

Additionally, patients often report enhanced sound quality when using a hearing aid and CI together, with speech sounding more natural, richer, or fuller.

Music appreciation has also been shown to improve with the use of a hearing aid in the ear opposite to a CI, according to a study by Kong et al. (2005).

Improve Your Quality of Life with CIs

The presence of CIs in popular culture, media, and fashion contributes to a broader understanding and acceptance of the technology. If you or a loved one are considering a CI or have questions about hearing loss solutions, schedule a consultation with our team at Audiology Associates.

Call us at (410) 944-3100 or visit our comprehensive hearing assessments page to start your journey towards better hearing. Together, we can help you make the best decision for your hearing health.

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Dr. Melissa Segev Au.D, F.A.A.A.

Dr. Segev, co-owner of Audiology Associates, proudly represents the values of excellent patient care upon which her practice was established in 1977. She understands that to properly treat the patient, excellent state-of-the-art medical testing is required along with acute listening and understanding of the patient’s perceptions of how they are feeling and what their needs might be.

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