Cochlear Implant: What you need to Know
If you’re struggling with severe hearing loss, and are looking for hearing loss treatment in Dwarka, you may do well to go in for a cochlear implant. This device is surgically implanted into your cochlea, the spiral-shaped bone found in the inner ear.
A cochlear implant functions by converting sounds into electrical impulses, which the brain interprets and responds to, the implant aims to replace and carry out the cochlea’s function.
Putting the cochlear implants to use will also require extensive therapy and training, which you can find with us; the best ENT hospital in Dwarka.
In this article, we’ll try and explain how it works and what the procedure involves.
Cochlear Implant- what are they?
Cochlear implants are small electronic medical devices that aid moderate to severe hearing loss, they are used for assisting hearing loss amongst adults, children, and even babies or infants. The device functions by electrically stimulating the cochlear nerve.
There is an external and internal component in the device.
The external component is positioned just behind the ear like a conventional hearing aid and has a microphone, that will receive sound waves. Its other part has a speech processor that will analyze the sounds and convert them into digital signals, which are sent to a transmitter. From the transmitter, the signals are sent forward to the internal receiver. A magnet holds the transmitter and receiver together in place.
The internal component is implanted under the skin behind the ear. As the receiver receives the digital signals from the external component, it converts them into electrical impulses.
These impulses are then sent to electrodes in the cochlea, which will stimulate the cochlear nerve, from where they are forwarded to the brain. The result of this process is a regained sense of hearing.
Remember, even though the brain notices the sounds, they aren’t the same as normal hearing. A considerable amount of speech therapy and rehabilitation are crucial in order to learn how to correctly interpret these sounds. But don’t worry, if you’re looking for the best cochlear implants in Dwarka, and great post cochlear implant recovery, Aakash Healthcare has got you covered.
Understanding Unilateral and Bilateral Cochlear Implants:
Initially, only unilateral cochlear implant surgery was performed but Bilateral CI implantation is becoming very common these days. However, the additional cost of a second implant and uncertainty about added benefits or risk factors has prevented bilateral cochlear implants from becoming routine surgery. Though a successful unilateral cochlear implant has benefited many children with severe to profound hearing loss but bilateral cochlear implant surgery has achieved better vocabulary outcomes.
Who is eligible for these implants?
As mentioned above, cochlear implants aren’t suited to everyone. Babies, children, and adults can be suitable candidates if they have:
- * severe hearing loss in both ears or even in single ear if not benefitted with conventional hearing aid
- * not got any benefit from conventional hearing aids
- * no pre-existent medical conditions that could increase surgery risks
As an adult, you could well be an ideal candidate if you:
- * have hearing loss that interferes with your spoken communication
- * lost your hearing later in life, partially or completely
- * need to lip read, even with the help of hearing aids
- * are committed to rehabilitation
- * clearly accept and understand what cochlear implants can and cannot do
Our expert audiologists and ear, nose, and throat (ENT) surgeons can determine whether the device is right for you.
Is it not the same as a hearing aid?
Obviously, we all think of hearing aids when it comes to hearing, hearing aids are medical devices meant to aid hearing loss as well. However, unlike cochlear implants, hearing aids don’t transmit sound signals through electrodes, but instead, these aids use a microphone, amplifier, and a speaker to make sounds much louder. This increase in volume can help people hear better.
Also, hearing aids are worn inside or behind the ears, they aren’t surgically implanted.
Hearing aids are most suited to those who have mild to moderate hearing loss. The amount of volume the device can amplify depends solely on your degree of hearing loss.
Certain hearing aids can aid severe hearing loss, but at times they won’t benefit speech understanding. In this case, a cochlear implant is the better choice.
Cochlear implants- Advantages and risk factors:
All medical devices come with their own pros and cons; it is the same for cochlear implants.
The benefits or advantages of Cochlear implant
If a person has severe hearing loss and has no benefit with the conventional hearing aid, a cochlear implant can very well improve their quality of life.
The benefits depend on the success of both the procedure and rehabilitation process. With a cochlear implant, you can
· hear all different sounds,
· understand speech without the need for lip reading
· hear voices over the phone
· listen to music
· watch TV without subtitles
For babies and toddlers, the device can help them talk.
Common risk factors of Cochlear implant
Cochlear implant surgeries are a safe procedure, but it is our duty to present the potential risks as well, like bleeding swelling and ringing in the ear, possible dizziness, infection where surgery is done, dryness in the mouth, change in taste, difficulty balancing, and meningitis, and weakness of face, or asymmetry of face .
Every person’s risk depends on their overall health and getting a cochlear impact is a serious commitment, one which you should be ready to make as it can benefit your life immensely.
Dr. Abhinit Kumar
Senior Consultant & HOD
ENT, Head & Neck Surgery