Hearing Implants Offer World of Sound

Andie Aviv collects the coveted tri-color ribbon that means best in class.

Andie Aviv was the recipient of a Cochlear Nucleus Implant System that restored her hearing from practically deaf to highly functional. (Photo courtesy Andie Aviv)

Born with a condition that left her virtually deaf Andie Aviv can now hear nearly everything anyone else can, thanks to the surgical addition of a Cochlear Nucleus Implant System the 12-year-old received as an infant. Although one of Andie’s biggest advantages is sport, the technology holds obvious promise for those whose circumstances impede the experience of music.

The company website says it invented the world’s first multi-channel cochlear implant more than 30 years ago and has been through nine generations of advancement, resulting in the various systems offered today.  Aviv, was interviewed by Paula Parisi for The Equestrian News and you can read the full interview here. “I cannot hear anything at all without my Cochlear Implants. I am profoundly deaf, which means a jet airplane could take off behind me and I wouldn’t hear it,” Aviv said. She started riding horses three years ago and can swim with a variation of the device called the Cochlear Nucleas Aqua+. In addition to hearing, speaking presented challenges, Aviv explained, but she was able to adapt through the help of her family and vocal coaching, and is now beginning to study foreign language.

The Cochlear community seems tight-knit, with testimonials by adults and children from walks of life from engineer to pianist. There are several treatment options, including Cochlear Hybrid Hearing, a Bone Conduction Implant System and a Cochlear Nucleus Implant System. With the Cochlear Nucleus Implant System, the external sound processor works with the internal implant that is surgically placed underneath the skin and attached to an electrode, which is inserted in the inner ear (cochlea). Working together, the two components of the cochlear implant bypass the part of the ear that is no longer working and deliver sound directly to the hearing nerve.

Working together, the two components of the cochlear implant bypass the part of the ear that is no longer working and deliver sound directly to the hearing nerve. There are even treatments for single-sided deafness, “utilizing the body’s natural ability to conduct sound.” Bone conduction implants, such as the Cochlear Baha System, are used to treat deafness in one ear. Meanwhile, the Cochlear Nucleus Hybrid Implant System helps individuals who are missing high-frequency sounds and have had trouble finding an effective treatment option. A helpful Cochlear video offers further explanation. 

“It would be so sad not to hear,” Aviv said, adding that she has “recommended this surgery many times – even to an older adult family friend who finally got a hearing implant after being so afraid and it changed her life.” Rocker Gene Simmons, of the band Kiss, had another type of ear reconstruction surgery, documented in some detail in this article from entertainment industry publication Variety.

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