A cochlear implant is an electrical device that restores hearing to some extent. It may be a viable alternative for patients who have significant hearing loss due to inner-ear damage and have exhausted all other options, including hearing aids. Unlike hearing aids, which enhance sound, a cochlear implant delivers sound impulses to the hearing (auditory) nerve by bypassing damaged parts of the ear.
A sound processor that inserts behind the ear is used with cochlear implants. Sound signals are captured by the processor and sent to a receiver implanted beneath the skin behind the ear. The impulses are sent to electrodes implanted in the snail-shaped inner ear through the receiver. The impulses are stimulated by the auditory nerve, which sends them to the brain. The brain interprets such impulses as sounds, albeit they will not be identical to those heard normally.
A cochlear implant is a tiny electronic device that stimulates the cochlear nerve with electricity (nerve for hearing). The implant is made up of both exterior and internal components.
The exterior component of the device is hidden behind the ear. It uses a microphone to take up noises. The sound is subsequently processed and sent to the implant's internal component.
During an outpatient procedure, the internal component is implanted beneath the skin behind the ear. The cochlea, which is part of the inner ear, is reached through a thin cable and tiny electrodes. The wire transmits impulses to the cochlear nerve, which in turn transmits sound information to the brain, resulting in a hearing sensation. Although normal hearing cannot be restored, with the right therapy and practise, enhanced hearing can lead to a greater awareness of noises in the surroundings as well as improved communication through lip reading and listening.
Someone with hearing loss may benefit from a cochlear implant, which can help them regain or increase their ability to hear and interpret speech. A hearing aid is not the same as a cochlear implant. A hearing aid increases the volume of sounds, yet it may not enhance speech comprehension considerably. A cochlear implant should be explored when a person fails to understand speech even with properly fitting hearing aids. The -cochlear implant can considerably improve hearing in adults when the device is adjusted properly and the patient is devoted to rehabilitation therapy. Infants and toddlers with cochlear implants may be better able to listen and learn to talk.
Cochlear implant surgery is usually considered safe. The following are some of the risks associated with cochlear implantation:
- Loss of residual hearing
In some persons, implanting the device can result in the loss of any remaining, unclear, natural hearing in the implanted ear.
- Meningitis following cochlear implant surgery
Vaccinations to minimise the risk of meningitis are typically administered to adults and children prior to implantation.
- Failure of a device
In some cases, surgery is required to repair or replace a defective inside device.
How long does it take to fully recover after a cochlear implant procedure?
You or a loved one will generally be taken to the recovery area after surgery while the anaesthesia wears off. This might take a long time. As it fades off, there may be some pressure or soreness around the implant area. After your medical team is pleased with your development, you will be free to return home.
A bandage will most likely be wrapped around the head to preserve the incision site. The bandage will come with instructions on how to care for it and when to remove it. Following surgery, you can resume normal activities after a few days, but you must take careful care of the implant area.