Cochlear Implant is an electronic device replaced with the inner ear (cochlea) of the patients who are unable to send sound waves to the brain.
The surgery is performed on the patients who have the problem of hearing loss due to the damaged hair cells in the inner ears. The implant helps the patient to hear which are not responding to other hearing aids.
Conditions for Cochlear Implant:
Cochlear implants help people to hear with clarity. They are not like hearing aids, which make the sound louder, but it helps send sound waves to the brain and replaces the damaged hair cells in the inner ear. Following are cases where it is beneficial:
People who find it difficult to hear clearly with hearing aids.
Those with moderate hearing loss in both ears.
Patients with 50% or fewer score in the sentence recognition test.
Patients with 60% or less score in sentence recognition test with hearing aids on.
It is suggested to opt for cochlear implants in both ears. The reason is to give the patient a better perspective of sound direction and clarity in understanding the words.
How does the Cochlear Implant work?
Cochlear Implant is an electronic device with an embedded sound processor that has to be worn outside ears or on the body. Following steps are involved in cochlear implant:
The sound captured by the processor is converted digitally by the processor and sent to the coil inside the ears of the patient.
The implant converts digitally coded sound waves to electrical impulses.
The electric impulse simulates the hearing nerve of the patient.
Then sends these impulses to the brain.
Benefits of Cochlear Implants:
The cochlear implant is a blessing for people who have been suffering from hearing loss for a very long time. It provides aid to people who have not benefited from hearing devices. The benefits of the cochlear implant are:
Studies have shown that people with cochlear implants have better sentence recognition scores instead of hearing aids.
The patient can concentrate better in the crowd and can hear conversations across the table.
Reconnect with the missed sounds.
Enjoy music on the phone.
Cochlear Implant improves the quality of life of people with hearing loss. It gives them an aid to understand and engage themselves in a conversation. However, it takes time to learn the interpretation of the sound signals that are received from cochlear implants. But, the patient can learn and lead a normal life with the implant. The factors which affect the benefits of Cochlear implants are:
The extent of hearing loss
The duration of the hearing loss and the condition before implantation
Damage to inner hair cells
Other health issues
The practice and rehabilitation time have been done in practice after implantation
The cochlear implant is performed in the patients after taking extensive tests determining the condition of the patients. It is activated after 2-6 weeks of surgery to give the surgery site a time to heal. Most people are discharged from the hospital after surgery and are prepared for the use of an implant. There are training sessions and classes for patients who have just gone for cochlear implants.