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January 17, 2024

Cochlear Implants, Once a Luxury, Are Helping More People Hear | Dr. Rebecca Lewis

by Anthony Effinger

The Think Neuro podcast from Pacific Neuroscience Institute takes you into the clinic, operating room and laboratory with doctors and surgeons who are tackling the most challenging brain diseases and disorders. Host: Anthony Effinger

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Episode 51: Show Notes

For people with hearing loss, properly-fitted hearing aids can be a miracle, restoring sounds of life that have been lost to aging or disease. But sometimes hearing aids aren’t enough, or a patient’s hearing deteriorates beyond the devices’ capabilities. Then, it’s time to consider cochlear implants—small electronic devices that go beyond hearing aids.

They bypass damaged hair cells in the ear and send electronic signals straight to the auditory nerve. Dr. Rebecca Lewis is an audiologist who specializes in evaluating patients who might be eligible for cochlear implants. Until recently, doctors installed the devices only after people had lost almost all of their hearing.

But because hearing is crucial to social connection, and social connection is key to staving off dementia, the bar for cochlear implants is coming down. Anyone who has tried a few sets of hearing aids and still can’t understand conversation should consider cochlear implants, Dr. Lewis says.

Listen to this episode to learn some fascinating things about how our ears and nerves allow us to hear the world, and whether you or a family member should consider cochlear implants.

About Dr. Lewis

Rebecca Lewis AuD

Rebecca (Becky) Lewis, AuD, is an audiologist and the Audiology Director of the Adult & Pediatric Cochlear Implant Program at Pacific Neuroscience Institute. She also holds the position of Adjunct Professor at Mount Saint Mary University / John Tracey Deaf and Hard of Hearing program. She has provided rehabilitative services including hearing aids, hearing protection, Osseo integrated devices, auditory brainstem implant and cochlear implant (CI) services to adults and children.

Check Out More Think Neuro Podcast Episodes

About the Author

Anthony Effinger

Anthony Effinger

Think Neuro's host is Anthony Effinger, an award-winning journalist who is fascinated with neuroscience and the workings of the brain. Anthony spent 24 years at Bloomberg News, where he covered all aspects of finance, with forays into science and health. In 2006, the Association of Health Care Journalists awarded him first prize for Playing the Odds, an in-depth piece on the changing strategies used to treat prostate cancer. These days, he is a staff writer at Willamette Week, a Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper in Portland, Oregon, where he lives with his wife and two children.

Last updated: January 17th, 2024