A cochlear implant (CI) is a surgically implanted electronic device that provides a sense of sound to a person who is profoundly deaf or severely hard of hearing in both ears. Cochlear implants bypass the normal hearing process; they have a microphone and some electronics that reside outside the skin, generally behind the ear, which transmits a signal to an array of electrodes placed in the cochlea, which stimulate the cochlear nerve.
The procedure in which the device is implanted is usually done under general anesthesia. Risks of the procedures include mastoiditis, otitis media (acute or with effusion), shifting of the implanted device requiring a second procedure, damage to the facial nerve, damage to the chorda tympani, and wound infections. People may experience problems with dizziness and balance for up to a few months after the procedure; these problems generally resolve, but for people over 70, they tend not to.
Who can they help?
The cochlear implant technology can help people who:
have moderate to profound hearing loss in both ears
receive little or no benefit from hearing aids
score 50% or less on sentence recognition tests done by hearing professionals in the ear to be implanted
score 60% or less on sentence recognition tests done by hearing professionals in the non-implanted ear or in both ears with hearing aids
Many people have cochlear devices in both ears (bilateral). Listening with two ears can improve your ability to identify the direction of sound and separate the sounds you want to hear from those you don’t.
How does a cochlear implant work?
It's for children and adults with sensorineural hearing loss. That condition typically involves damage to tiny hair cells in a part of your inner ear called the cochlea. These hair cells usually pick up the vibrations of sounds and send them to the brain through the auditory nerve. When they’re damaged, sound can't reach that nerve. A cochlear implant skips the damaged hair cells and sends signals to the auditory nerve directly.
The devices have two parts. One part, the receiver-stimulator, is placed under your skin through surgery. The other, the speech processor, you wear behind your ear like a hearing aid. The outside part is slightly larger than a normal behind-the-ear hearing aid.
First, a surgeon puts a receiver under your skin behind your ear through a small cut. The receiver is connected to electrodes, which she’ll put into a part of your inner ear called the cochlea. The surgery takes an hour or two, and you’ll probably go home the same day.
One to 2 weeks after the procedure, your doctor will fit your speech processor. You wear a microphone, which looks like a hearing aid, behind your ear. The processor may be connected to the microphone and worn at your ear, or you might wear it somewhere else on your body, depending on how active you are, your age, or your lifestyle. These processors offer different programs and telephone options. They also can connect to assistive listening devices and other technology you use, like an iPod. Some have rechargeable batteries, which can lower costs over time.
When there are sounds around you, the microphone and processor pick them up and change them into electrical impulses. Then the transmitter sends these coded signals to the receiver under your skin. Next, the receiver delivers the signals to the electrodes inside your cochlea. These electrodes stimulate the auditory nerve, which carries the signals to the brain, where you recognize them as sound.
What are the advantages of a Cochlear Implant?
It can be life-changing if you have a serious hearing problem. But the results aren't the same for everyone. Some people benefit more than others. Some of the pros:
You may be able to hear speech at a nearly normal level
Hear better with a cochlear implant than with a hearing aid
You may be able to understand speech without lip reading.
It’s easier to talk on the phone and hear the TV and can focus better when in noisy environments.
You may be able to hear music better than before.
You can pick up on different types of sounds, including soft, medium, and loud ones.
You can better control your own voice so that it’s easier for others to understand you.
A previous study has shown that people with a cochlear implant achieve an average of 80% sentence understanding, compared with 10% sentence understanding for hearing aids1.
Find it easier to have conversations with people across meeting tables, in restaurants and other crowded places.
Reconnect with missed sounds that they could not hear before their cochlear implant.
Feel safer in the world as they can hear alarms, people calling out and approaching vehicles.
What are the disadvantages and risks?
Cochlear implant surgery is very safe, but any operation comes with risks. Problems can include bleeding, infections, and side effects from the medicine that sends you to sleep during the procedure.
Other possible complications may include:
A nerve injury that changes your sense of taste
Nerve damage that causes weakness or paralysis in your face
Dizziness or balance problems
Loss of the hearing you have left
Ringing in your ears, called tinnitus
Leaks of the fluid around the brain
The device doesn’t work or gets infected, which may mean you’ll have to remove and replace the implant.
Meningitis, an infection of the membranes around the brain. It’s a rare but serious complication. Children and people with abnormally formed inner ears seem to be at higher risk. The FDA and CDC recommend vaccines for anyone who gets a cochlear implant to lower their risk for the disease.
Some other points to be kept in mind...
If you have some hearing left, sound may seem "mechanical" or "synthetic," although most people no longer notice this after several months.
If you need an MRI, you may first need a simple procedure to briefly take out the magnet in the cochlear implant. But more medical facilities can do these imaging tests without removing the magnet. There’s also a type of cochlear implant that has a magnet you don't need to take out in order to have an MRI.
Some parts of the device can get damaged if they get wet. You need to take off the speech processor before you bathe, shower, or swim. You also can cover that part with a waterproof case or choose a waterproof cochlear implant processor.
Rarely, the implant may stop working, and you’d need surgery to fix the problem.
Advantages of procedure through India MediTourism
Most affordable Cost of Implant.
Providing a confident and expert health professional who can interact with providers on a collaborative and professional level avoiding of any sense of intimidation or confrontation.
Obtaining a second opinion if doubt or uncertainty exists.
Assisting in medical appointments, tests, understand your illness and treatment options.
Supporting and guiding you so that you could take informed decisions about your treatment.
Taking frequent update from your healthcare provider to review your health progress or recuperation and providing feedback if necessary.
Exploring the alternate and available treatment options to allow you to better informed and you choose what is in your best interest.
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**Kindly do note that more accurate Treatment or Surgery Cost can only be given after we receive your complete medical records or a physical examination of patient done by the Surgeon. The treatment cost given above is just indicative and should not be taken as final.