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Cochlear Implants Tips

Cochlear Implants - How Are They Helpful?

Dr. Ajay Jain 87% (10 ratings)
MS- Otorhinolaryngology, DNB- Otorhinolaryngology, MBBS, USMLF
ENT Specialist, Delhi
Cochlear Implants - How Are They Helpful?

Cochlear implant is a medical device that provides direct electrical stimulation to the hearing nerve in the inner ear. Children and adults with a severe hearing lossmay be helped with cochlear implants. A cochlear implant is a prosthetic substitute directly stimulating the cochlea and it does not cure deafness or hearing impairment.

A cochlear implant completely by-passes the normal hearing mechanism and stimulates the auditory nerve directly by means of an internally implanted electrode assembly. The implant consists of an external portion that located behind the ear and an interior portion which is surgically implanted under the skin. An implant has a microphone, a speech processor, a transmitter and an electrode array. The sound from the environment is picked by microphone and transmitter and receiver/stimulator sends them to speech processor to convert them into electric impulses.

The speech processor placed with the microphone behind the ear, or it is a small box-like unit worn in a chest pocket. The speech processor digitizes the sound signals and sends them to a transmitter just behind the ear. The electrode array collects the impulses from the stimulator and sends those to different regions of the auditory nerve. The electrodes stimulate the fibers of the auditory nerve, and sound sensations are perceived.

A cochlear implant is very different from a hearing aid. Hearing aids amplify sounds so that they can be detected by damaged ears. Cochlear implants bypass damaged portions of the ear and directly stimulate the auditory nerve. Hearing via a cochlear implant is different from normal hearing and takes time to adjust. However, it enables many people to understand other sounds in the environment, recognize warning signals, , and understand speech in person or over the telephone.

The benefits from a cochlear implant depend on many factors, such as the age of the patient when he or she receives the implant, the hearing loss present pre or post patient developed language skills and finally the motivation of the patient and family support

Once a person is referred for cochlear implant, more testing is done which includes audio logic testing, psychological testing, medical examination, and tests performed by the surgeon. It is done to ensure that the candidate will benefit from a cochlear implant and will have the motivation to participate in the process. Once the decision is made to go ahead, the surgery is done.

Sometimes it involves an overnight stay in the clinic, and sometimes it is done on an outpatient basis. Six weeks post-surgery, patient is fitted with the external microphone and speech processor and implant is activated and programmed.

The best candidates are those having severe hearing loss in both ears, limited benefit from hearing aids, medical condition that makes surgery risky. Children can be considered for cochlear implants if they have the similar conditions as adults and in addition have support from their educational institutions to development of auditory skills.

2573 people found this helpful

Cochlear Implants - Things To Know!

Dr. Rajeev Arya 85% (18 ratings)
MBBS, Master of Surgery ENT
ENT Specialist, Faridabad
Cochlear Implants - Things To Know!

Cochlear implant is a medical device that provides direct electrical stimulation to the hearing nerve in the inner ear. Children and adults with a severe hearing loss may be helped with cochlear implants. A cochlear implant is a prosthetic substitute directly stimulating the cochlea and it does not cure deafness or hearing impairment.

A cochlear implant completely by-passes the normal hearing mechanism and stimulates the auditory nerve directly by means of an internally implanted electrode assembly. The implant consists of an external portion that located behind the ear and an interior portion which is surgically implanted under the skin. An implant has a microphone, a speech processor, a transmitter and an electrode array. The sound from the environment is picked by microphone and transmitter and receiver/stimulator sends them to speech processor to convert them into electric impulses. The speech processor placed with the microphone behind the ear, or it is a small box-like unit worn in a chest pocket. The speech processor digitizes the sound signals and sends them to a transmitter just behind the ear. The electrode array collects the impulses from the stimulator and sends those to different regions of the auditory nerve. The electrodes stimulate the fibers of the auditory nerve, and sound sensations are perceived.

A cochlear implant is very different from a hearing aid. Hearing aids amplify sounds so that they can be detected by damaged ears. Cochlear implants bypass damaged portions of the ear and directly stimulate the auditory nerve. Hearing via a cochlear implant is different from normal hearing and takes time to adjust. However, it enables many people to understand other sounds in the environment, recognize warning signals, , and understand speech in person or over the telephone.

The benefits from a cochlear implant depend on many factors, such as the age of the patient when he or she receives the implant, the hearing loss present pre or post patient developed language skills and finally the motivation of the patient and family support.

Once a person is referred for cochlear implant, more testing is done which includes audio logic testing, psychological testing, medical examination, and tests performed by the surgeon. It is done to ensure that the candidate will benefit from a cochlear implant and will have the motivation to participate in the process. Once the decision is made to go ahead, the surgery is done. Sometimes it involves an overnight stay in the clinic, and sometimes it is done on an outpatient basis. Six weeks post-surgery, patient is fitted with the external microphone and speech processor and implant is activated and programmed.

The best candidates are those having severe hearing loss in both ears, limited benefit from hearing aids, medical condition that makes surgery risky. Children can be considered for cochlear implants if they have the similar conditions as adults and in addition have support from their educational institutions to development of auditory skills.

3242 people found this helpful

Know The Advantages Of Cochlear Implant!

Dr. Akriba Ahmed 84% (13 ratings)
MBBS, Diploma In Otorhinolaryngology
ENT Specialist, Guwahati
Know The Advantages Of Cochlear Implant!

Are you experiencing severe hearing loss or turning deaf? To get back your normal hearing, you should undertake a cochlear. It is a small device which is planted in your ear via a surgical procedure. It sends impulses to the auditory nerve directly and as a result, sound signals are carried to your brain. Such an implant does not make you hear like normal again, but it helps you with sounds and knowing sounds around you such as telephones, alarms and doorbells.

How Does Cochlear Implant Work?

Cochlear implant is meant for adults and children who have sensorineural hearing loss. This is a condition which damages the tiny hair cells in the inner ear known as the cochlea. Your hearing gets impaired when these are damaged. A cochlear implant sends signals to the auditory nerve directly by skipping the damaged hair cells.

The device has two distinct parts. One part is the receiver-stimulator which is placed under the skin via surgery. The other part is the speech processor, which is worn around the back of the ear like a hearing aid. The outside device is, however, bigger in size than a hearing aid.

The receiver is placed under the skin, behind the ear through a small incision and it gets connected to electrodes. This is put into the cochlea of the inner ear. The surgery takes about some hours to be completed.

Two weeks after the surgery, the speech processor is fitted by the doctor. You will have to wear a microphone behind your ear. The processor can be connected to the microphone and worn around the ear. It can also be worn at any other place of the body, depending on your age and lifestyle.

Advantages of Cochlear Implant-

The major advantages of a cochlear implant are as follows:

  1. You may be able to hear speech at an almost normal level.

  2. You may understand speech without the help of lip reading.

  3. It will be easy for you to talk on the phone and listen to the television.

  4. Your experience of listening to music will improve.

  5. You will be able to pick up different sounds starting from soft, medium to loud sounds.

  6. You can also control your own voice in a better way, which will make it easier for others to understand you.

A cochlear implant can be a life changing device if you suffer from serious hearing loss. The results are not the same for everyone and vary from person to person. Some people may benefit more than others.

2641 people found this helpful

Cochlear Implants - What Are The Benefits Of It?

Dr. Sachin Goel 86% (10 ratings)
MS - ENT, MBBS
ENT Specialist, Ghaziabad
Cochlear Implants - What Are The Benefits Of It?

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 

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

 

2224 people found this helpful

Cochlear Implants - How Can They Help?

Dr. Manni Hingorani 93% (35 ratings)
MS - ENT, MBBS
ENT Specialist, Delhi
Cochlear Implants - How Can They Help?

Introduction

A cochlear is one of the best electronic medical devices in the modern world. A cochlear implantation is a surgical implantation done on a person who is deaf. This device provides a sense of hearing. It does not amplify the sound like normal hearing aids. It stimulates the auditory nerve directly.It has many advantages and is currently more useful than your average hearing aid.

How can Cochlear implants help?

One may get to hear speech at a normal level. In adults, the result is immediate while in children the rate at which they improve is very slow. In adults, there is a rapid improvement for about three months after which the improvement is slow. Most people can perceive a wide range of sounds varying from soft, medium to loud like the slamming of a door, the barking of dogs, and the ringing telephone. Makes a person more secure and self-reliant. It is very important for a person to be able to hear in case of critical conditions like the fire alarm. Cochlear implant helps with these. One can actually hear auditory voices, even though they are robotic. A person with cochlear implant does not need to lip read.Children can think about studying in mainstream schools instead of studying in a specialized school for deaf people.

Now we will discuss some details about the drawbacks. And, it is not a foolproof method and doesn't guarantee that hearing a person may lose the residue hearing that they have. There are several drawbacks to a cochlear implant.

Let us discuss some down below:

A surgical process involves a lot of money and it has a lot of ordeals associated with it. Therefore, before getting a cochlear implant done ask your specialist to elaborate if it will be of any help to your condition. The cost of maintenance is also very high. It will be difficult for people who are not inborn deaf to cope up with hearing conditions as the sounds are distorted and background noises interfere with the process of hearing. Irritation of your skin, muscle spasms, and even facial paralysis are some of the side effects of this implant. But these are rare conditions. Sounds are translated by the device first and may sound unnatural. It takes time and proper training before a person can be at ease with this condition. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

2618 people found this helpful

Cochlear Implants - Implantable Hearing Solution For The Hearing Impaired!

Aster Cmi Hospital 90% (665 ratings)
General Surgeon, Bangalore
Cochlear Implants - Implantable Hearing Solution For The Hearing Impaired!

A cochlear implant is a small electronic device that can help improve the hearing of people with severe, irreversible hearing loss. Although a cochlear implant does not restore normal hearing, it can allow a person to hear and understand more speech than was possible with a hearing aid.  For a child, this could mean an opportunity to develop listening and speech skills and the potential to attend school with hearing peers. For adults, a cochlear implant could reduce social isolation and improve communication.   

The Implant 
The cochlear implant is a device that is placed in the inner ear.   The implant system has three primary parts:  

  1. Microphone and Transmitter —The headpiece and transmitter is worn above the ear to pick up sounds. These sounds are sent to a speech processor.  
  2. Speech Processor — A speech processor is worn externally, behind the ear like a hearing aid, to convert sound into a digital code that is transmitted to an implanted stimulator.  
  3. Implanted Stimulator — The implanted stimulator is a small component placed under the skin behind the ear. It receives a digital code from the speech processor and sends it to the auditory or hearing nerve. 

The brain interprets this signal and it is recognized as sound.  The small headpiece and transmitter is held in place by a magnet coupled the implanted stimulator, under the skin.  

The Evaluation  
Tests are done to determine if a child is a candidate for a cochlear implantation. Patients are selected based on medical and hearing histories and test results as well as findings.  The evaluation, which differs slightly for children and adults, includes the following:  * 

  1. Medical Evaluation — Conducted by the cochlear implant surgeon who will take the medical history, examine your ears and explain the surgical process.
  2. CT Scan of the Temporal bone and MRI Brain and Cochlear imaging - This computerized tomography (CT) scan allows the surgeon to evaluate the ear's internal structure, recommend which ear to implant and may provide information as to the cause of deafness.
  3. Audiological Evaluation — This evaluation involves a hearing test to confirm the type and degree of hearing loss, hearing aid evaluation to assess the benefit provided by a hearing aid and aided speech recognition testing to determine if a hearing aid might provide greater benefit than an implant.  
  4. Psychological Screening — This screening is conducted by psychologist to assess the feelings about hearing loss and the cochlear implant, such as the reasons for seeking the implant and the expectations.  
  5. Cochlear Implant Counseling — At this time, if one is a candidate for cochlear implant, possible benefits and limitations will be explained and one will be provided with information to select the device.  

Surgery  
Before the surgery, one will meet with an anesthesiologist and and complete any necessary tests. Patients generally remain in the hospital overnight and return home the day after surgery.  

Implant surgery is performed under general anesthesia and takes about three hours. During the operation, a surgeon will anchor a receiver-stimulator device in the temporal bone in the skull and insert what is called an "electrode array" into the cochlea, the small snail-shaped structure in the inner ear that contains the hearing organ.  First, an incision is made behind the ear to expose the temporal bone. The surgeon then positions the implant component against the bone. A hole is made in the temporal bone with a microscopic drill, allowing the surgeon access to the cochlea. A small hole is made in the wall of the cochlea and the electrode array is gently guided into the cochlea. The internal receiver is secured in place on the skull bone with sutures and the incision is closed. A sterile dressing is placed on the incision.  

To qualify for a cochlear implant, patients must meet the following criteria:  
Adults age 18 and older have:  

  1. Overall good health 
  2. Severe hearing loss in both ears 
  3. Limited benefit from conventional hearing aids determined by a trial period, when appropriate, of about three months  
  4. Psychological and emotional stability  
  5. Realistic expectations of the implant  
  6. No ear conditions or other medical conditions that would interfere with surgery  
  7. Ability to participate fully in a follow-up   

Children age 1 to 17 must have:  

  1. Overall good health  
  2. Severe hearing loss in both ears 
  3. Limited benefit from conventional hearing aids  
  4. Realistic expectations of the cochlear implant  
  5. No ear conditions or other medical conditions that would interfere with surgery  
  6. Family commitment to comply with all evaluations before and after surgery  
  7. Enrollment in a post-operative rehabilitative and educational program that supports the use of cochlear implants and the development of hearing skills  

Follow-Up 
Following surgery, patient will return home for four weeks to allow time for swelling to subside and the incision to heal. After several days, the incision may be wet during bathing or showering.

Device Programming

The externally worn speech processor is activated about four weeks after surgery. The processor converts speech into a special code for each user. The activation and programming is performed at the Hospital. Programming for each implant is customized for the patient and takes about six hours over a two-day period. 

Testing 
Visit at regular intervals for device checks and re-evaluation. During these visits, the implant and equipment are checked and performance is measured. Re-testing generally occurs at one, three and six months and one year following the initial device fitting. Then, semi-annual or annual evaluations are performed. Each session for adults involves about three hours.  

Outcomes  
Benefit from a cochlear implant usually improves with time but can't be guaranteed. Rehabilitation after surgery is key to maximizing the benefits of the cochlear implant. Most people with these implants are able to engage in hearing activities, such as listening to a Walkman, enjoying a movie, using a phone and participating in social activities.  The motivation is critical to the success of the implant. Use the device during all waking hours, Listen, speak and interact with others as much as possible, Utilize visual cues when adjusting to the implant, but gradually decrease the use of visual cues when ready, Ask others to identify unfamiliar sounds so they become familiar.  

Many people have questions about cochlear implants, how they work and what to expect from the surgery. Here are some common questions and answers-

Will a cochlear implant restore normal hearing for people who are deaf? 
No, a cochlear implant does not restore normal hearing. It is a communication tool but not a "cure" for deafness. When hearing functions normally, parts of the inner ear convert sound waves into electrical impulses. These impulses are sent to the brain, where they are recognized as sound. A cochlear implant simulates that process. An implant, supplemented with listening therapy, can help people recognize sound, including speech.  

Are there risks in cochlear implant surgery?  
Risk is inherent in any surgery requiring general anesthesia. However, the surgical risks for cochlear implantation are minimal and most patients require only a one-day hospital stay and have no surgical complications.

Will I need more surgery as new technology becomes available?  
The implanted unit is designed to last a lifetime. The externally worn speech processor, which is responsible for converting sound into code and sending the information to an internal unit, is dependent on software that can be upgraded as technology improves.  

Will my child outgrow the internal device and require a new one?  
No, the cochlea is fully formed at birth and the skull structures achieve almost full growth by age 2. The electrode array is designed to accommodate skull growth in children.  Should I wait for new cochlear implant technology?  No, the design of the surgically implanted receiver and electrode array has changed relatively little during the history of cochlear implants. However, speech-coding strategies, which are responsible for delivering the signal to the internal unit and are stored in the externally worn speech processor, have improved significantly over the years. The speech processor can incorporate new technology when available.  

Can people with cochlear implants identify environmental noises as well as speech?  
Cochlear implants provide a wide range of sound information. Performance in speech perception testing varies among individuals. With time and training, most patients understand more speech than with hearing aids and many communicate by telephone or enjoy music.  

Can people with cochlear implants swim, shower and participate in sports?  
Yes, people with implants can swim, shower and participate in virtually all types of sport activities when they are not wearing the external equipment. The only restriction relates to skydiving and scuba diving because significant changes in air pressure are not advised. Participation in all other athletic activities is unrestricted, although protective headgear is always recommended.  In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

3160 people found this helpful

Cochlear Implant - The Many Benefits Of It

Dr. Suven Kalra 85% (26 ratings)
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!

4297 people found this helpful

What Can Cause Noise Induced Hearing Loss?

MBBS Bachelor of Medicine & Bachelor of Surgery, MS ENT, Fellowship In FESS & Otology
ENT Specialist, Noida
What Can Cause Noise Induced Hearing Loss?

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

4593 people found this helpful

Cochlear Implants - How Do They Work?

Dr. Sadat Qureshi 89% (157 ratings)
MS - ENT, MBBS
ENT Specialist, Bhopal
Cochlear Implants - How Do They Work?

A cochlear implant is beneficial if you are deaf or have difficulties in hearing. Cochlear implants are not hearing aids which just raise the volume of the different sounds you hear; they are surgically implanted inside your head. The implant transmits impulses straight to the auditory nerves which send the signals to the brain.

Cochlear implants can help you with sounds such as telephones, alarms or doorbells ringing. You can even understand speech or listen to music again with the help of cochlear implants.

How Cochlear Implants Work?

Cochlear implants are for adults and children with sensorineural (hearing loss caused by damage to the inner ear) hearing loss.

The device consists of two parts:

  • The receiver-stimulator: this part is surgically implanted under the skin.

  • The speech processor: this part is placed externally, behind the ear.

The receiver-stimulator is placed first, and two weeks after the procedure, the speech-processor is installed. If there are sounds around you, the microphone on the speech processor will pick them up and transform them into electrical impulses. The receiver-stimulator receives these impulses through the electrodes inside them. The electrodes then send the electrical impulses to stimulate the auditory nerves, and ultimately, the sounds picked up will reach the brain.

Advantages Of Cochlear Implants-

Some advantages of cochlear implants include:

  1. Being able to hear at normal volumes.

  2. Understanding speech without the need to lip-read.

  3. Listening to and talking over the phone get easier.

  4. Being able to hear music better after the surgery.

  5. Picking up loud, medium and soft sounds.

  6. Modulating your own voice gets better, so others understand you easily.

Disadvantages/Risks Associated With Cochlear Implants-

The risks of cochlear implants are common surgical after-effects such as infection, bleeding and anaesthetic side-effects. Some other complications include:

  1. Alteration in sense of taste due to nerve injury.

  2. Paralysis or weakness on the face due to nerve damage.

  3. Dizziness.

  4. Tinnitus (Ringing in the ear).

  5. Fluid leakage around the brain.

  6. Device can be faulty or get infected.

  7. Meningitis (An infection in the brain).

People Who Can Get Cochlear Implant-

You are eligible to get a cochlear implant if you have:

  1. Profound to severe hearing loss.

  2. Problems with the hearing aid.

  3. A strong wish to improve your hearing.

  4. Even children with severe hearing loss in both the ears can get a cochlear implant.

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

4410 people found this helpful

How Cochlear Implants Can Help?

Dr. Ajay Kothadiya 84% (12 ratings)
Diploma - Diploma - OLO - Rhino-Laryngology, MBBS Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery
ENT Specialist, Pune
How Cochlear Implants Can Help?

Cochlear implant is a medical device that provides direct electrical stimulation to the hearing nerve in the inner ear. Children and adults with a severe hearing loss may be helped with cochlear implants. A cochlear implant is a prosthetic substitute directly stimulating the cochlea and it does not cure deafness or hearing impairment.

A cochlear implant completely by-passes the normal hearing mechanism and stimulates the auditory nerve directly by means of an internally implanted electrode assembly. The implant consists of an external portion that located behind the ear and an interior portion which is surgically implanted under the skin. An implant has a microphone, a speech processor, a transmitter and an electrode array. The sound from the environment is picked by microphone and transmitter and receiver/stimulator sends them to speech processor to convert them into electric impulses. The speech processor placed with the microphone behind the ear, or it is a small box-like unit worn in a chest pocket. The speech processor digitizes the sound signals and sends them to a transmitter just behind the ear. The electrode array collects the impulses from the stimulator and sends those to different regions of the auditory nerve. The electrodes stimulate the fibers of the auditory nerve, and sound sensations are perceived.

A cochlear implant is very different from a hearing aid. Hearing aids amplify sounds so that they can be detected by damaged ears. Cochlear implants bypass damaged portions of the ear and directly stimulate the auditory nerve. Hearing via a cochlear implant is different from normal hearing and takes time to adjust. However, it enables many people to understand other sounds in the environment, recognize warning signals, , and understand speech in person or over the telephone.

The benefits from a cochlear implant depend on many factors, such as the age of the patient when he or she receives the implant, the hearing loss present pre or post patient developed language skills and finally the motivation of the patient and family support

Once a person is referred for cochlear implant, more testing is done which includes audio logic testing, psychological testing, medical examination, and tests performed by the surgeon. It is done to ensure that the candidate will benefit from a cochlear implant and will have the motivation to participate in the process. Once the decision is made to go ahead, the surgery is done. Sometimes it involves an overnight stay in the clinic, and sometimes it is done on an outpatient basis. Six weeks post-surgery, patient is fitted with the external microphone and speech processor and implant is activated and programmed.

The best candidates are those having severe hearing loss in both ears, limited benefit from hearing aids, medical condition that makes surgery risky. Children can be considered for cochlear implants if they have the similar conditions as adults and in addition have support from their educational institutions to development of auditory skills.

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