Implantable devices open world of clear hearing

Many people get frustrated with hearing aids that don’t work well, and there are alternatives to help with hearing loss. Dr. Ryan Porter, a Carle surgeon focused on ear and hearing health, answers questions and shares his insight on a more permanent solution.

Is it possible for me to hear better?

For most people, the answer is yes. If you’ve had hearing aids, but they don’t help the way you’d like or they no longer help as much as they did, cochlear implants could help you hear better. 

How are cochlear implants different than hearing aids?

Hearing aids make sounds louder, which is just what some people need. Cochlear implants help you hear more clearly. Maybe you’ve gathered with friends and noticed that while you can hear their voices, it is difficult to tell what they are saying. If your hearing aids no longer make speech clear or understandable, a cochlear implant may be right for you.

How can I find out if cochlear implants are right for me (or for someone I care about)?

Contact Carle Hearing Services to schedule a thorough test to see if cochlear implants could help you hear better based on the kind of hearing loss you experience.

How do cochlear implants work?

Outpatient surgery places a device near your ears to help them connect better with your brain. A removable receiver makes the setup complete.

How long does it take?

Surgery takes a couple hours, and you go home the same day. With very little pain, most people are back to doing everything they usually do well within a week.

About three weeks after surgery, your audiologist will turn on your cochlear implants, and you’ll begin to hear better. It takes several visits to make adjustments. Our team develops long-term relationships with patients and families to make the process work.

Are cochlear implants expensive?

The cost is likely less than you expect. Most government and private health insurance plans cover cochlear implants even when they don’t cover hearing aids.

How can I learn about what others like me experienced?

Most people who have one implant are so pleased they ask right away when they can have the other one done. Our patients share their success stories in these videos.

How do I choose the right provider/caregiver?

We encourage patients considering any treatment to learn more about the physician’s experience. Dr. Michael Novak started this program, the first of its kind in the region, at Carle in 1985. Now a nationally known cochlear implants provider, Carle helped with many clinical trials for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

At Carle, we work to help restore hearing, enhance communication and improve balance disorders. Certified by the American Speech Language Hearing Association, our audiologists hold master’s and doctorate degrees in hearing sciences.

If you have other questions, please use this simple form so we can start you on the path to better hearing today.

Learn more about Dr. Porter’s skills and services in this helpful video, which includes captions.

What should I do if I want to learn more?

Please call Carle Hearing Services at (217) 383-3197 or TDD (217) 383-3137.