Cochlear Implants

Cochlear Implant

A cochlear implant is a small electronic device that can enable an individual who is profoundly deaf or very hard-of-hearing perceive sound. An exterior piece of the implant rests behind the ear, and a second portion is surgically implanted beneath the skin. The following components make up an implant:
  • A microphone that captures sound from the surroundings
  • A speech processor is a device that picks and organises sounds captured by a microphone
  • A transmitter and receiver/stimulator that receives and translates signals from the speech processor into electric impulses
  • The impulses from the stimulator are collected and sent to different parts of the auditory nerve using an electrode array or a collection of electrodes

Normal hearing is not restored with an implant. Rather, it can provide a person with profound hearing loss a realistic representation of sounds in the environment and aid in speech comprehension.

How does the Cochlear Implant Work

A cochlear implant is not the same as a hearing aid. Hearing aids enhance sounds so that impaired ears may detect them. Cochlear implants work by bypassing damaged parts of the ear and stimulating the auditory nerve directly. The auditory nerve transmits signals generated by the implant to the brain, which identifies them as sound. It takes time to get used to hearing with a cochlear implant because it is different from regular hearing. Cochlear implants allow people to understand warning signals, interpret unusual noises in the area, and hear conversation in person or over the phone.

Who needs a Cochlear Implant

Depending on the type and severity of a person’s hearing loss, cochlear implant candidates might now include both adults and children. Cochlear implants are available for youngsters as early as 12 months old.

Child

Children who are candidates for cochlear implants must meet the following criteria:

  • Both the ears are severely affected with hearing impairment
  • Hearing aids have provided little or no benefit
  • Age-appropriate cognitive development
  • There are no dangers associated with surgery owing to medical conditions
  • They, together with their parents, are aware of their involvement in the successful use of cochlear implants
  • Are willing to undergo surgery

Adults

Adult candidates for cochlear implants must meet certain criteria, which include:

  • Both ears being affected by profound hearing loss
  • Hearing aids are ineffective for them
  • There are no medical issues that could impact the patient's safety during operation

A medical check-up, auditory assessment, and sometimes a psychological evaluation are all part of the procedure to evaluate whether or not you are a good candidate for a cochlear implant. The cochlear implant team, on the other hand, first gathers all relevant data and attempts to provide credible answers to two crucial questions:

 

  • 1. Does a cochlear implant seem to be the only option?
  • 2. Are there any medical conditions that could put the surgery at risk?

Cochlear Implant Team

The following people make up a responsible cochlear implant team:

  • ENT Consultant: Medical examination, surgery, and post-operative care are the responsibility of an ENT (Ear, Nose, and Throat) Consultant or Surgeon.
  • Audiologist: He or she performs a hearing test, as well as programming and mapping sound processors
  • Speech-language Pathologist: He or she takes care of post operative auditory verbal therapy for speech and language therapy
  • Special Educator: He or she is in charge of the academic aspects of children with disabilities
  • Psychiatrist or psychologist: Psychological evaluation and expectations counseling are performed by a psychiatrist or psychologist
  • Social Worker: Funds and mental assistance are provided by a social worker
  • Teachers of the Child Candidates: They can help with educational planning