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Cochlear Implant: Treatment, Procedure, Cost and Side Effects

What is the treatment?

A cochlea is a part of the human ear, shaped liked a tube and it is hollow and usually coiled in the form of a shell of a snail. The cochlea contains the Organ of Corti, which is the sensory organ of hearing. Therefore the cochlea is an integral part of the human ear that coordinates the nerve cells within the ear to help the human hear. When a person’s cochlea is damaged and she/he is unable to hear almost nothing or absolutely nothing, then that person is given a device to make her/his cochlea work. This process is known as a cochlear implant.

A cochlear implant is a small yet complex electronic device that helps a person to hear who is basically deaf or almost nearly deaf. The device has two portions – an internal and an external one. While the former is surgically placed under the skin, the latter sits behind the ear. A cochlear implant doesn’t restore normal hearing, but it can give a deaf person a proper form of sounds that are there in the environment and help that person to hear sounds and decipher them.

A cochlear implant consists of various parts. There is a microphone to pick sound for the external environment. This sound picked by the microphone is selected and arranged accordingly by a speech processor. A transmitter and receiver are there that received sound signals from the processor and convert them into electric impulses. Lastly, there is an electrode array consisting of a group of electrodes whose function is to collect impulses from the stimulator and sending them to different parts of the auditory nerve.

A cochlear implant helps to bypass damaged portions of an ear and directly stimulate the auditory nerve. Signals generated by the machine are sent to the brain via the auditory nerve, and the brain in turn recognises those signals as sounds. Hearing with the aid of this device is quite different from ordinary hearing and requires time to get used to it. But is allows people to hear speeches over the phone, understand sounds in the external environment and recognise warning signals.

How is the treatment done?

A cochlear implant is generally done under the influence if anaesthesia. The procedure used most commonly to implant a mechanical cochlea into a human ear is called mastoidectomy with facial recess approach (MFRA). This is done by removal of the mastoid cells. There are various types of this surgery: Radical mastoidectomy, Canal Wall Down Mastoidectomy, Canal Wall Up Mastoidectomy, Cortical Mastoidectomy and Modified Radical Mastoidectomy. All the different types of mastoidectomy are done by removal of one or more parts of the mastoid bone in order to get the part of the cochlea where the device needs to be implanted.

This surgery takes about two hours, but may also extend up to three hours at a stretch. Before the surgery is done, the audiologist and the physician decide which ear to operate and a thin line of hair is shaved along the incision line. The operator creates cuts a section of the skull behind the ear to accept an internal receiver. Under a surgical microscope, a meticulous drilling in the mastoid bone provided access to the cochlea. A small cavity in the round window membrane allows insertion of the electrode array. The electrode array is tested previously before putting it into the purpose of hearing

Generally the ear with better understanding of speech is recommended for this surgery as residual hearing predicts better post implant performance.

Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?)

Irrespective of their age or social and economic background, any person who is partially or totally deaf is eligible to take this surgery. It has been approved that even children aged 12 months are also approved to go under cochlear implantation. It is very common these days to find children with hearing problems, who after undergoing this surgery, are able to hear well and clear.

Who is not eligible for the treatment?

A person, who is not having any hearing problem, does not need to go under this operation. Only, a person who is severely or fully unable to hear is recommended to go for cochlear implantation.

Are there any side effects?

Various types of surgery may involve certain risks during the surgery. There can be infections during the time of surgery, which is quite common in many cases. Extrusion of the implant where the scalp overlies the implant may break down and thus exposes the implant. Further surgery to cover the implant with new tissue or removal of the implant may be necessary in that situation. Also taste disturbance, mouth dryness, numbness of the ear, weakness of the face, dizziness, hematoma, meningitis or anaesthesia can occur after the surgery is performed.

What are the post-treatment guidelines?

Post treatment guidelines involve learning and re-learning the use of the device, as it is very different from the normal hearing aids. This may take time and would involve patience of the person who has undergone cochlear implant surgery. A person has to practice getting used to the device. Speech-language pathologists and audiologists are there to help people get into practising hearing with the aid of this implant.

How long does it take to recover?

It doesn’t take much time to recover from this surgery – about 1 or 2 days are enough to stay at the hospital after the process is done. As soon as the surgery is performed under the supervision of a medical personnel who is specialised in this particular field, the person suffering from hearing problems would be able to hear every sound clearly. He/she only needs some amount of time to get used to this device, and no other problem would exist any further.

What is the price of the treatment in India?

The cost of cochlear implant in India starts from Rs. 5.12 lakhs and may vary according to the nature of the surgery. It may rise till Rs. 9.5 lakhs in certain cases.

Are the results of the treatment permanent?

The effect of the cochlear implantation is permanent. Once the surgery is performed, the people who initially suffered from this problem would get healed and no other problem regarding hearing would be faced by them in the future.

What are the alternatives to the treatment?

Certain people use hearing aids instead of this surgery. The surgery is quite expensive, and therefore those who cannot afford this surgery, can alternatively use the affordable hearing aids if they suffer from hearing impairment. This doesn’t require much practice to get accustomed to and many people use it.

Safety: Treatment Effectiveness: Very High Timeliness: High Relative Risk: Low Side Effects: Medium Time For Recovery: Very Low Price Range:

Rs. 5,12,000 - Rs. 9,50,000

Popular Health Tips

Know How Does A Cochlear Implant Works!

MBBS Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery, MS - ENT
ENT Specialist, Delhi
Know How Does A Cochlear Implant Works!

The inability to hear can be frustrating. Thankfully, children and adults with a severe hearing loss no longer have to rely on only sign language to communicate. Cochlear implants are hearing aids that can help treat loss of hearing. Unlike the other types of hearing aids available, cochlear implants do not amplify sounds but bypass the part of the ear that does not function properly and delivers sound to the auditory nerves in the form of electrical signals. In this way, it does not restore hearing or cure the loss of hearing but allows severely deaf people to hear sounds. Also, unlike other hearing aids, surgery is required to insert the cochlear implant.

Components of a Cochlear Implant
Cochlear implants can be worn by children and adults. They can be implanted in one ear or both ears at the same time. There are two components to a cochlear implant: the internal component and the external component.

  1. Internal component: There are two internal components of a cochlear implant. These must be surgically implanted under the patient’s skin. This surgery is usually performed while the patient is under general anaesthesia. It can typically take 2 to 4 hours and one night’s hospital stay may be needed after the surgery. The first is a receiver that is located under the skin of the temporal bone. This is accompanied by one or more electrode arrays.
  2. External component: Once the incision site has healed, the external components of the cochlear implant may be put in place. The external component of a cochlear implant can be further categorized into two units: the transmitter and the small hook-like part that wraps itself around the ear. This consists of the microphone and the speech processor. A small wire links the two units together. The transmitter is usually positioned over the internal part of the device.

How does a cochlear implant work?
The microphone behind the patient’s ear picks up sounds, amplifies them and transmits them to the speech processor. The processor then analyses the sounds and digitizes them. These signals are then forwarded to the transmitter which codes them and sends them to the internal receiver through magnetic coupling. The receiver converts the codes into electrical pulses and dispatches them to the electrodes. These electrodes are inserted seep into the inner ear. When they receive the signals, they stimulate the auditory nerve. These nerves then interpret the signals as sounds.

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Cochlear Implant - The Many Benefits Of It

MBBS, MS - ENT, Fellowship In Otology
ENT Specialist, Delhi
Cochlear Implant - The Many Benefits Of It

A cochlear implant is an electronic device that is used to restore hearing ability in people who suffer from hearing loss due to inner ear damage. Unlike hearing aids which amplify sounds so people with hearing loss are better able to perceive them, cochlear implants directly transmit electronic sound signals to the auditory nerve. They work by compensating for damaged cochlea, the part of inner ear that converts sound waves into neural impulses which are perceived by the brain. 

  1. A child who cannot hear will also never be able to speak. 
  2. Inability to hear and speak puts a person at disadvantage in society. 
  3. Simple tasks like talking on the phone which we take for granted become impossible. 
  4. Conventional methods of learning like attending a classroom lecture become impossible. 
  5. Brain development and intelligence is closely linked to development of speech and language. 
  6. Inability of parents to communicate with child leads to emotional distancing. 
  7. Integrating a hearing disabled person in to society becomes a frustrating experience for all involved. 
  8. Cost of integration per capita in much higher when compared to cost of Cochlear Implant. 
  9. Children with Cochlear Implants are fully integrated in society with normal hearing & speech. 
  10. Children with Cochlear Implants can attend regular schools & colleges 
  11. Early identification of hearing impairment gives children a better chance of developing speech and language skills, and of making the most of social and emotional interaction from an early age. 

Cochlear implants offer a multitude of benefits to people experiencing hearing loss, especially infants and children with severe hearing loss who are just starting to process language and speech. Some of these benefits are: 

  1. Hearing and communication – Cochlear implants improve hearing significantly, especially to a level where normal communication can be restored. It enhances the person’s ability to hear speech without relying on visual cues such as lip reading or hand signs. It makes telephonic conversation a lot easier. Cochlear implants also help people regulate their own voice and volume so that it is easier for others to understand them. 
  2. Quality of life - It can help people with hearing loss listen to and enjoy music and also watch television with sounds. It helps people listen to sounds in a noisy environment and differentiate soft sounds from loud ones. 
  3. Safety – Cochlear implants enhance the individual’s safety as it allows the person to be able to hear warning sounds like honking cars or ambulance sirens. This will allow people to navigate public spaces in a much safer way. 
  4. Society - For children with hearing loss, cochlear implants can help them adjust a lot better to regular schools instead of requiring special institutions. 
  5. Brain development - It can help infants with cochlear damage develop their speech recognition and speaking skills much faster. 

Cochlear implants 

  1. Only device of its kind that can restore a special sense.
  2. Consists of 2 parts-
    • One part is surgically implanted in the body 
    • Second part is worn behind the ear and communicates with internal part using wireless signals 
  3. Persons of any age can get a cochlear implant, from less than one year old children to 90 year old persons have received implants all around the world. 
  4. Cochlear implants can be done for partial hearing loss also, know as Hybrid implant that preserves the residual natural hearing and augments hearing only in certain sound frequencies in which hearing loss is present. 
  5. Are being used for indications other than hearing loss also like Tinnitus
  6. Surgery is a day care procedure for most patients. 

CochlearConsult a doctor to get a clear assessment of whether you would be an eligible candidate for a cochlear implant and what to expect from the procedure. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

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Cochlear Implants - 6 Benefits You Must Know!

ENT Specialist, Noida
Cochlear Implants - 6 Benefits You Must Know!

You should consider undertaking a cochlear implant in case you are experiencing hearing loss or are turning deaf. This is a small device that gets planted in your ear through a surgical procedure. It sends impulses to your auditory nerves directly, as a result of which sound signals get carried to your brain. Cochlear implants may not make you hear normally again, but help you with different sounds, and in the recognition of the different sounds around you like alarms, telephones, and door bells.

How it works?

  1. A cochlear implant is fit for children and adults who suffer from the sensorineural hearing loss. This condition damages the tiny hair cells in your inner ear, which is called the cochlea. Hearing becomes impaired when these get damaged.
  2. The device consists of two specific parts. The first part or the receiver-stimulator is placed under your skin via a surgical procedure. The other part of the device is the speech processor. It has to be worn around your neck in the form of a hearing aid.
  3. The external device is, however, larger in size than a usual hearing aid. The receiver gets placed under your skin, behind the ear via a small incision. It is connected to electrodes.
  4. This is inserted into the cochlea of your inner ear. The surgery requires a few hours to be undertaken successfully.
  5. The speech processor has to be placed two weeks after the surgery is undertaken. The processor can be connected to the microphone, and this can be worn around the ear.
  6. You can wear it on any other part of your body, based on your lifestyle and age.

Benefits of cochlear implant
The major benefits of a cochlear implant are as follows:

  1. You might be able to hear speech almost normally.
  2. You will be able to understand speech better, and will not have to depend on lip reading.
  3. It will be much easier and simpler for you to listen to the television and talk over the phone.
  4. You will be able to listen to music better.
  5. You may also be able to pick up various sounds around you that include soft, medium, and loud sounds.
  6. You will be able to control your own voice better. This makes other people understand you better.

If you are suffering from severe hearing loss, a cochlear implant may be able to change your life for the better. However, the results are not the same for all, and vary among people. It is possible for some people to benefit more from such an implant than others.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

3585 people found this helpful

Cochlear Implant - Why They Are Good For You?

ENT Specialist, Delhi
Cochlear Implant - Why They Are Good For You?

Traditionally, people resort to hearing aids in order to take care of their auditory problems. The perception of hearing reduces as age progresses and people find it absolutely necessary to come up with ways by which they can improve their hearing. However, cochlear implants have become extremely popular because of the method that it uses in comparison to the traditional methods of hearing aids.

What is a cochlear implant?

A cochlear implant is an electronic medical device that replaces the function of the damaged inner ear. Unlike hearing aids, which make sounds louder, cochlear implants bypass the damaged hair cells of the inner ear (cochlea) to provide sound signals to the brain.

Who can they help?

The cochlear implant technology can help people who:

  1. have moderate to profound hearing loss in both ears
  2. receive little or no benefit from hearing aids
  3. score 50% or less on sentence recognition tests done by hearing professionals in the ear to be implanted
  4. score 60% or less on sentence recognition tests done by hearing professionals in the non-implanted ear or in both ears with hearing aids.

Many people have cochlear devices in both ears (bilateral). Listening with two ears can improve your ability to identify the direction of sound and separate the sounds you want to hear from those you don’t.

What are the benefits of a cochlear implant?

Many adults with cochlear implants report that they:

  • Hear better with a cochlear implant than with a hearing aid
  • A previous study has shown that people with a cochlear implant achieve an average of 80% sentence understanding, compared with 10% sentence understanding for hearing aids1.
  • Can focus better when in noisy environments.
  • Find it easier to have conversations with people across meeting tables, in restaurants and other crowded places.
  • Reconnect with missed sounds that they could not hear before their cochlear implant.
  • Feel safer in the world as they can hear alarms, people calling out and approaching vehicles.
  • Talk and hear on the phone.
  • Enjoy music.

​​How is a cochlear implant different from a hearing aid?

A cochlear implant is very different from a hearing aid and is appropriate for individuals for whom hearing aids fail to provide benefit. A hearing aid makes sounds louder. Sound still travels through all the portions of the ear (outer ear, middle ear, inner ear) to the hearing nerve. A cochlear implant bypasses these structures and directly stimulates the hearing nerve with electrical energy. Because hearing aids amplify sounds and rely on the hearing system to convey the message, people with severe to profound hearing loss may be able to hear, but not understand speech well. The main objective of a cochlear implant is to improve speech understanding in quiet. Clarity with a cochlear implant is usually better than a hearing aid because the implant does not make sounds louder but delivers them to the hearing nerve.

There are a number of symptoms, which people should be looking out for before concluding that they have a hearing disorder:

  1. Inability to hear properly
  2. Excessive ear pain and stress on the brain
  3. Failure to communicate properly
  4. Discomfort in the mouth or nose
  5. Other feelings of anxiety or stress that may actually be a consequence of the hearing loss problem

    If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult an ENT specialist.

3992 people found this helpful

Induced Hearing Loss - Facts You Should Be Careful about it

ENT Specialist, Delhi
Induced Hearing Loss - Facts You Should Be Careful about it

While most noise is just in the background for us, loud noises, either in small spurts or prolonged exposure, can cause hearing loss. This has been happening more frequently as the levels of noise in an industrialized society go further up.

Noise induced hearing loss explained
Loud noises may damage the sensitive structure of your ear, which process the sound waves into information. They eventually become nonfunctional, resulting in a loss of hearing in that range. If exposure to loud noises continues, then this might extend to the entire range of hearing and may cause total hearing loss.

What may cause noise induced hearing loss?
Some of the scenarios which may cause noise induced hearing loss are as follows:
1. Listening to music on high volume: If you constantly listen to music or watch movies at your home on very loud levels, then it may result in noise induced hearing loss. In fact, listening to music or watching movies with headphones in your ears is one of the leading causes for hearing loss. Headphones have deceptively loud levels and may result in damaged hearing overtime.

2. Noise of household tools: Household tools such as drills, mixers, grinders, mowers, and saws can expose you to loud levels of noise. Even a quick exposure for a few seconds could temporarily damage your hearing. 

3. Occupational problems: Occupations such as construction, factory work and military that require the use of power tools on a constant basis can also cause hearing loss. The sound from the resulting friction might damage your hearing very quickly. Explosions and impacts are also causes of hearing loss in the military and law enforcement departments.

Prevention and treatment
It is difficult to treat hearing loss as in most cases; it may be permanent, except sudden shocks, when your hearing might come back to normal. The only treatments for hearing loss are hearing aids or cochlear implants which can restore hearing partially.

Prevention: Prevention is the best method to avoid hearing loss and in most cases, you should wear ear protection such as mufflers or sound level reduction devices to protect your hearing. Also, practice listening to music, watching TV or movies at lower levels, especially if you are on the headphones. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a ent-specialist.

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Popular Questions & Answers

Sir I am suffering from hearing loss since last two years, I have nasal mucus also. I am hearing aid machine in one year should I go for cochlear implant. Any other solution.

MASLP, Bachelor of Audiology & Speech Language Pathology (B.A.S.L.P)
Speech Therapist, Nashik
Hello, as you have mentioned you are already having hearing aid. I hope its benefitting you. Cochlear implant is for those people who have profound or in common terms the hearing loss which is very severe. If you are benefitting with hearing aid do not change it. If you feel you are not able to hear properly change the hearing aid.

Hello Sir, May 9 month baby need cochlear implant surgery. Can you pls suggest me any other option. Or best doc. In the city or out side city. As well as pls tell me about cost of surgery. Thank you.

MS - General Surgery, FMAS.Laparoscopy
General Surgeon, Gandhinagar
Hello dear Lybrate user, hi Warm welcome to I have evaluated your query thoroughly. Sir can drop query at where our customer care experts will give best guidance. Cost is varying from center to center but around 5 lacs on average. Hope this clears your query. Wishing you fine recovery. Welcome for any further assistance at my private URL Regards take care.
1 person found this helpful

Dear Doctors I would like know about cochlear implant. Whether It is possible at the age of 28 year man who has complete deafness by birth or any complications on this surgery and cost of the surgery? Thank you.

Masters In Speech Pathology & Audiology
Speech Therapist, Gurgaon
Cochlear implant is advised to people who cannot benefit with hearing aid. If the auditory nerve is functioning then only it is advised. So an ent doctor will guide you correctly. 28 years is the correct age.
2 people found this helpful

My mother age 68 having 70-80% disability of hearing & we can't afford cochlear implant, do you suggest any other foolproof hearing aid?

BSC - Audiology
Audiologist, Azamgarh
Hello first you tell me who suggest you for cochlear implant .it rong information go any hearing aid center you will get hearing aid and your mother will hear properly. Don't worry every thing will be fine.

Table of Content

What is the treatment?
How is the treatment done?
Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?)
Who is not eligible for the treatment?
Are there any side effects?
What are the post-treatment guidelines?
How long does it take to recover?
What is the price of the treatment in India?
Are the results of the treatment permanent?
What are the alternatives to the treatment?
Play video
Cochlear Implants
Here are symptoms, effects and procedure of cochlear implants.

Hi! I am Dr. Manish Prakash senior ENT consultant at Mayom Hospital, Gurgaon. Today we are going to talk about Cochlear Implants. Cochlear Implants are the boom for the deaf. They are primarily indicated for severe to a profound Sensorineural Hearing loss in children and adults.

Hearing loss is of two types Conductive Hearing loss and Sensorineural hearing loss.

Conductive Hearing Loss primarily means that the sound is not able to reach inside the inner ear into the cochlea and that is why it is called as Conductive Hearing Loss whereas Sensorineural hearing loss means that the sound is reaching into the cochlea but because to the damage in the cochlea hair it does not reach to the auditory nerve and it cannot reach to the brain.

Cochlear implants are mainly indicative for the treatment of Sensorineural hearing loss. Cochlear implants consists of two parts. One is internal component and the external component. Internal component is the surgically implantable electrode which is inserted by a surgery inside the cochlea which happens to reside behind the ear. The external part is a processor which is also having a microphone and a transmitting coil which is a house behind the ear and is supposed to capture all the sound and transmit it to the electrical signals. Thereby the signals enter to the cochlea via the electrode and these signals are transmitted through the auditory nerve to the brain. Cochlear implants is majorly for pre lingual children. Pre lingual mean before the development of the language and children who are born deaf and children under 8 years of age are good candidates for such kind of intervention and procedure and also children who are post lingual deaf which means that after the acquisition of language. Afterwards who become deaf post lingual children and adults are also good candidates for the cochlear implantation program.

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