Hearing Aid & Cochlear Implant

What Is Cochlear Implant Surgery?

Cochlear implant surgery is done in people with hearing loss. The surgery is done to implant a device in the inner ear.

Hearing loss is generally because of two reasons. The hearing may be impaired due to underlying medical conditions or obstruction in the ear canal. This hearing loss is termed as conductive hearing loss. Surgical interventions to correct the disease or obstruction is recommended. Such cases do not require cochlear implants.

Hearing loss may also be due to damage to hair cells. The auditory nerve becomes unresponsive in this case. Such hearing loss is known as sensorineural hearing loss. Cochlear implant surgery is recommended in such cases.

What Are The Characteristic Features Of Cochlear Implant Device?

cochlear implant improves the quality of life of the patient suffering from sensorineural hearing loss. It helps in a better understanding of speech. Although different from the natural hearing, these implants help the patient to cope better with the surrounding environment. Implants do not raise the pitch of speech rather it acts as a replacement of damaged hair cells.

The cochlear implant comprises of two parts. The external part of the cochlear implant comprises the microphone to receive sound, processor to process the speech, and transmitter to forward speech to the internal part. The internal part is surgically implanted in the inner ear. The device comprises a stimulating system that is attached to skull bone and the electrodes are fixed in the cochlea.

Who Are The Ideal Candidates Of Cochlear Implant Surgery?

Cochlear implant surgery is recommended in sensorineural hearing loss. It is also recommended in cases where the other hearing aids fail to raise significant hearing efficacy. Candidates in which surgery is not contraindicated, have an undamaged auditory nerve, have full information about the procedure, risks and results of the cochlear implant surgery are ideal candidates for this surgery.

The cochlear implant surgery can be done in both adults and children. Children with congenital deafness or who has hearing loss due to injury are an ideal candidate for cochlear implant surgery.

What Is The Procedure Of Cochlear Implant Surgery?

After the positive recommendations given by a team of doctors including ENT surgeon, audiologist and anesthetist, the procedure for cochlear implant surgery is initiated. Cochlear implant surgery requires almost 2-3 hours and is done under general anesthesia. A small incision is made behind the ear. The bony area up to the ear canal is exposed. The internal part of the cochlear implant is then placed in between the muscles and skin and is fixed to the skull bone.

To insert the electrodes in cochlea, a cochlear incision is done. After completion of the procedure, the incised area is closed through stitches and dressing is done.

What Are The Results Of Cochlear Implant Surgery?

It is to be noted that the cochlear implant device cannot mimic the effect of natural hearing. The patient should have realistic expectations with cochlear implant surgery. It may take a few months to get adjusted to the hearing through a cochlear implant device. Drastic changes have been seen in deaf-born children after implantation of a cochlear device.

What Are The Recovery Timelines After Cochlear Implant Surgery?

After the procedure is completed, the patient may be transferred to ICU to monitor vital signs. When vital signs are found to be non-concerning, the patient is shifted to a normal ward. Patients generally get discharged from the hospital 1-2 days after the surgery. During the rehabilitation, the patients are given training about the use of the external part. In the case of born-deaf children, a psychologist assists during the rehabilitation period.

Can A Person Travel In Aeroplane After Having Cochlear Implant Surgery?

There is no problem traveling in an airplane with a cochlear implant. However, the person has to show the cochlear implant identification card to security at the airport. If there are no surgical complications, the person may be able to fly within 7-14 days after the surgery. You should seek more information regarding flying with your cochlear implant surgeon.

Can A Person Sleep With Cochlear Implant Device?

It is not advisable to sleep with your external part on the ears. This may lead to damage of the external part. You should take off the device before going to bed. If you are living alone, you should seek other listening devices for the alert.

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