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A cochlear implant is a small electronic medical device used to improve and treat hearing loss in babies, children and adults. It works by electrically stimulating the cochlear nerve. A cochlear implant consists of two important components internal and external portions. The internal device is surgically placed under the skin and the external portion sits behind the ear. The doctors usually perform hearing tests, speech tests, a physical exam of the ear, imaging tests like CT scans, and psychological tests before going ahead with the implant. This assessment allows the doctor to understand the severity of damage and expectation of the surgery. A cochlear implant contains the following parts:
Microphone:This picks up environmental sounds.
Speech processor:This selects and arranges sounds picked up by the microphone.
Transmitter and receiver/stimulator:They receive signals from the speech processor and convert them into electric impulses.
Electrode array:This is a group of electrodes that collects the impulses from the receiver and sends them to the different regions of the auditory nerve.
Our ENT specialists
I underwent cochlear implant surgery at the CK Birla Hospital. The surgery was completed successfully by Dr Anish sir. The procedure took around two and a half hours and I was back to my home the same day. It's been a few weeks now and I can hear sounds clearly and communicate with my family and friends. I really appreciate the doctor and hospital staff for providing me with the best treatment. I am thankful to the team of doctors and staff and highly recommend this hospital for cochlear implant surgery. Thanks. Thanks to the whole team of CK Birla Hospital.
My 5 years old son was dealing with deafness. While consulting the doctor at the CK birla hospital about the treatment options, I came across the term Cochlear Implant. The doctor explained everything in detail and suggested my son undergo the procedure. During my visits to the hospital and consultations with the doctor, I gained the confidence that my son was going to be in the best hands possible. The treatment went great and my son can listen and talk to us with the help of a cochlear implant. I am thankful to the CK birla team. Thanks to the whole team of CK Birla Hospital.
Visiting the CK Birla Hospital and undergoing cochlear implant surgery was the best decision I made. I am absolutely happy and satisfied with the implant and facilities I received there. The advanced medical technologies and expertise of the ENT surgeons helped me hear again after long years. I must confess the fact that I had one of the best healthcare experiences at the hospital. everything is coordinated and executed with so much precision and perfection. Thanks to the whole team of CK Birla Hospital.
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Who can get a cochlear implant?
Cochlear implants have gained prominence among patients across all age groups. It can help anyone from kids as young as 12 months to elderly patients over 65. The following criteria define the eligibility:
Children born with profound hearing loss
Children who have some hearing loss but are not benefitted from a hearing aid
Adults who have lost hearing on both sides either due to infection or drugs and are not benefitted from hearing aids
Age-related hearing loss is also known as presbyacusis, where there is no perceivable benefit from a hearing aid
Recently, FDA has approved cochlear implantation for single-sided deafness.
What happens during a cochlear implant?
Cochlear implant surgery is performed in a clinic or hospital setting. An ENT surgeon performs the procedure under the influence of general anaesthesia. The following steps are involved in cochlear implant surgery:
- The surgeon makes an incision behind the ear, opens the mastoid bone, identifies the facial nerves, creates an opening between them to access the cochlea, and then opens it.
- The surgeon inserts the implant electrodes into the cochlea and places an electric device called the receiver under the skin, behind the ear, securing it to the skull in this area.
- Afterwards, the surgeon closes the incision and shifts you to the recovery area where you are closely monitored.
- Cochlear implant surgery takes around 2-4 hours.
How does a cochlear implant work?
A cochlear implant device includes a sound processor that captures sound signals. This processor fits behind the ear. From here, the signals are sent to the receiver implanted under the skin behind the ear. The receiver transfers these signals to electrodes implanted in the inner ear.
These signals are then sent to the brain which interprets them as sounds. Sounds interpreted through cochlear implants are not entirely similar to the ones you hear otherwise. You will have to learn how to interpret these signals and sounds to understand speech properly.
What are the benefits of a cochlear implant?
A cochlear implant can significantly improve the quality of life. The benefits of this surgery depend on the procedure and rehabilitation process. The following are the benefits of the procedure:
- Ability to identify where sounds are coming from.
- Near normal ability to understand speech may be restored, without the need for lip reading.
- Daily activities such as making calls, watching TV or enjoying music easily.
- Better control over your own voice, so it is easier for others to understand you.
- Recognition of everyday sounds. Loud, medium and soft sounds can also be perceived.
- Adults often benefit immediately with continuous improvement for about three months after initial tuning sessions,
Apart from all the above, this medical device can help babies and toddlers learn how to talk.
What are the risks of a cochlear implant?
A few risks associated with this procedure such as hearing sounds differently in the initial weeks, loss of residual hearing, meningitis or failure of the device, among others. Consult an expert and understand all pros and cons before undergoing the procedure.
Patients who receive cochlear implants are expected to undergo rehabilitation as well. It is an important part of the treatment journey as it involves training your brain to understand various types of sounds.