A cochlear implant is an electrical device that restores hearing to some extent. It may be a viable alternative for those who have significant hearing loss due to inner-ear damage and have exhausted all other options, including hearing aids. Unlike hearing aids, which enhance sound, a cochlear implant delivers sound impulses to the hearing (auditory) nerve by bypassing damaged parts of the ear. A sound processor that goes behind the ear is used with cochlear implants. Sound signals are captured by the processor and sent to a receiver implanted beneath the skin behind the ear. The signals are sent to electrodes implanted in the snail-shaped inner ear by the receiver (cochlea).
ENT specialists at Medica are not just medical professionals who can treat your sinus pain, swimmer’s ear in your child, or sleep apnea in your father. They are also skilled surgeons who can undertake incredibly delicate surgeries to restore middle ear hearing, unblock blocked airways, remove tumors of the head, neck, and throat, and reconstruct these vital tissues.
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Why is it Done?
People with severe hearing loss who are no longer aided by hearing aids may benefit from cochlear implants. Cochlear implants can help them communicate better and live a better life.
Cochlear implants can be implanted in either one (unilateral) or both (bilateral) ears (bilateral). Cochlear implants in both ears are becoming more common in the treatment of bilateral severe hearing loss, especially in newborns and toddlers beginning to talk and understand language.
Cochlear implants can help adults and children as early as six to twelve months old. People who have cochlear implants say they’ve noticed an improvement in:
- Hearing speech without the use of visual signals such as reading lips
- Normal, ordinary environmental sounds can be recognised.
- Listening ability in a noisy setting
- Ability to locate the source of noises
- Hearing television shows, music, and telephone conversations
You must meet the following criteria to be considered for a cochlear implant:
- Hearing loss that is so severe that it causes spoken communication to be disrupted
- Hearing aids provide limited benefit, as evaluated by expert hearing tests
- There are no medical problems or circumstances that will raise the risk of getting a cochlear implant
- High desire to take part in hearing rehabilitation and be a part of the hearing community
Cochlear implant surgery is typically considered to be risk-free. The following are some of the possible side effects of cochlear implantation:
- Residual hearing loss: In some patients, implanting the device can result in the loss of any remaining, unclear, natural hearing in the implanted ear.
- After cochlear implant surgery, inflammation of the membranes around the brain and spinal cord (meningitis). Adults and children are typically given vaccines to lessen the risk of meningitis before implantation.
- A defective device may necessitate surgery to fix or replace.
A 4-year-old child underwent the first cochlear implant surgery in India
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What to Expect Post-Procedure?
You or your child may encounter:
Over the implanted ear or ears, there may be pressure or discomfort. Nausea or dizziness. Most people feel well enough to go home the same day or the next day after surgery.
To give the operation site time to heal, an audiologist will not switch on (activate) the cochlear implants for two to six weeks after your surgery.
The process of rehabilitation is teaching your brain to recognise sounds heard through a cochlear implant. Speech and ordinary noises will sound different than you recall. It takes time for your brain to figure out what these sounds signify. This is a continual procedure that is best accomplished by wearing the speech processor at all times during the day.
The outcomes of cochlear implant surgery differ from one person to the next. The age at which hearing loss occurred and the period between hearing loss and cochlear implant surgery are also factors that can influence the outcome of cochlear implantation.
When it comes to youngsters, obtaining a cochlear implant at a young age usually yields the best results.