Cochlear implants are an electronic device that partially restores hearing. This can be an option for people who have severe hearing loss due to an inner ear injury and can no longer be helped by hearing aids.
Unlike hearing aids, which amplify sound, an implanted cochlear implant passes through the ear to transmit sound signals to the auditory (auditory) nerve.
The cochlear implant uses an audio processor located behind the ear. The processor picks up audio signals and sends them to a receiver implanted under the skin behind the ear. The receiver sends signals to electrodes implanted in the cochlea’s inner ear.
The signals stimulate the auditory nerve and then direct them to the brain. The brain interprets these signals as sound, although these sounds will not be exactly like normal hearing.
It takes time and training to learn to interpret the signals received from cochlear implants. During a year of use, most people with cochlear implants make significant gains in speech comprehension.
Cochlear implants in people with severe hearing loss
And using hearing aids no longer helps them, it recovers.
Cochlear implants may be placed in one ear (unilateral) or both ears (bilateral). Cochlear implants in both ears have often been used to treat severe bilateral hearing loss.
Especially for babies and children who are learning to speak and process language.
Adults and children between the ages of six and 12 months can benefit from cochlear implants. People who have cochlear implants have been reported:
Ability to hear speech without the need for visual cues such as lip-reading
Recognize natural and everyday ambient sounds
Ability to listen in a noisy environment
Ability to listen to TV shows, music and telephone conversations
To be eligible for cochlear implants, you must have the following:
Before the operation
You or your child needs a thorough medical evaluation to determine if cochlear implantation is a good option. A doctor will do an evaluation, which may include the following:
Arrange hearing, speech and sometimes balance tests
Perform a physical exam to assess the health of your inner ear
During the procedure
Your surgeon makes an incision (incision) in the back of your ear, and makes a small hole in the part of the skull (mastoid) where the internal device is located.
Your surgeon then makes a small hole in the cochlea to thread the electrode into the internal device. The skin incision is sutured because the internal device is under your skin.
You or your child may experience the following:
Pressure or discomfort on the implanted ear or ears
Dizziness or nausea
Most people feel good when they return home the day after surgery or the next day.
An audiologist will not turn on or activate the cochlear implant for about two to six weeks after your surgery – to give the surgical site a chance to heal.
To enable cochlear implantation, an audiologist:
Adjust the audio processor to suit you or your child
Examine the cochlear implant components to make sure they work
Identify the sounds you or your child are hearing
Rehabilitation involves training the brain to understand the sounds heard through cochlear implants. Everyday speech and ambient sounds will be different from what you remember.
Your brain needs time to recognize the meaning of these sounds. This process is ongoing and is best achieved by constantly wearing a speech processor during waking hours.
The results of cochlear implant surgery vary from person to person.
For children, cochlear implants generally give the best results at a young age.
Some predicted results may include the following:
Clearer hearing Many people with hearing criteria for cochlear implants may eventually have clearer hearing using the device.
Improved tinnitus Although tinnitus is not the main reason for receiving cochlear implants, cochlear implants may be somewhat suppressed during use. It can rarely make tinnitus worse.