I’m an older adult with severe hearing loss. Should I get a cochlear implant?

Up to 53 million people worldwide live with severe to profound hearing loss. Hearing aids work well for many people, but are not always adequate. Fortunately, there is another option: Cochlear implants, which are small devices surgically installed in your ear that stimulate the auditory nerve directly with electrical currents. The implant bypasses injured hair cells and provides information that can improve speech perception.

Cochlear implants were once offered mainly to deaf or near-deaf children. But research shows that adults can benefit as well. According to a global consensus report from 31 hearing experts published in August 2020, age shouldn’t be a factor in your decision. Older adults can benefit as much as younger adults, they say, though it’s best to get the implant as soon as you can.

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