• Mayo Clinic Minute: New technology for cochlear implants

Many people with hearing loss may benefit from cochlear implants. The technology, which has been available for decades, has helped children and adults hear better, and sometimes for the first time. Dr. Colin Driscoll, a Mayo Clinic head and neck surgeon, says new technology used during the implantation procedure is making the devices even better.

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If hearing aids don't work for you, cochlear implants might.

"One of the more exciting things that's been developed in the last number of years is surrounding the concept of preserving the hearing that people currently have," says Dr. Driscoll.

He says some people who choose cochlear implants do have some level of hearing. It's just not good. Before the new technology was available, any residual hearing was lost during surgery to implant the device.

"The idea now is, can we preserve that functional, mildly useful hearing and then augment it with the cochlear implant," says Dr. Driscoll.

The new technology allows Dr. Driscoll and his team to monitor hearing levels during surgery to make sure implantation does not disrupt existing hearing. It allows patients to …

"… get the best of both worlds," says Dr. Driscoll. "Hang on to what you have and then augment what you don't have."

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