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If You Could Make Your Deaf Child Hear, What Would You do? Get a Cochlear Implant?

By Dr. Ravinder Gera in ENT(Ear Nose Throat)

Nov 08 , 2020 | 2 min read

What is a cochlear implant?

cochlear implant is an electronic medical device that replaces the function of the damaged inner ear. Unlike hearing aids, which make sounds louder, cochlear implants bypass the damaged hair cells of the inner ear (cochlea) to provide sound signals to the brain.

Who is a right candidate for a cochlear implant?

Currently, Cochlear implant surgery are FDA approved for anyone over 12 months of age who has a significant hearing loss. Candidacy for an implant is based on two primary factors: Severity of the hearing loss and Inability of the patient to recognize speech with or without hearing aids

What should I know about surgery?

The actual surgical procedure takes 1 to 2 hours and uses general anaesthesia. Most people are discharged same day or within 24 hours. The surgery is routine and there is usually minimal discomfort like dizziness for few days or mild to moderate pain. Most people return to normal activities within few days to a week.

What will happen after surgery?

After the procedure, we start with rehabilitation Auditory Verbal Training (AVT) or Post-op rehabilitation. Rehabilitation is an essential part for those who have undergone Cochlear Implantation. All patients need Auditory Verbal Therapy (AVI).

How long does it take me to get maximum benefit from a cochlear implant?

Benefit usually starts immediately and for adults reaches a plateau at about 3 months after the initial tuning sessions. Although performance continues to improve, after this time the improvements are at a slower rate.

How well will I hear with a cochlear implant?

Every person’s journey to hearing is as unique as the details of every person’s hearing loss. Your or your child’s hearing experience with cochlear implants is dependent upon a number of biological factors, including:

  • Age when hearing loss began
  • Length of hearing loss
  • Age at implantation
  • The medical health of the inner ear
  • Other medical conditions that could affect hearing

Why Is It Necessary To Wait 3 To 6 Weeks After The Operation Before Beginning The Training?

A waiting period is necessary for the operative incision to heal completely. This usually takes 3 to 6 weeks. When the swelling has subsided, the initial fitting or programming of the processor can be done.

Is it beneficial if a family member participates in the training programme?

Yes! A family member should be included in the training programme. The family member should know how to manage the operations of the sound processor.

Can I use the implant while playing sports?

Probably! Most implants are durable enough to allow playing sports. However, the external parts of most are not waterproof, so you would have to remove them before swimming or other water sports.

Should I get cochlear implants in both ears?

Depending on candidacy and healthcare coverage, people with hearing loss sometimes get both ears implanted at the same time. This is called “simultaneous implantation,” and it’s done to achieve bilateral hearing (hearing in both ears). Others opt for a second implant at a later date (sequential implantation), after first experiencing life with only one implant for a while.

The bilateral hearing is the way normal hearing works and offers several advantages, including better sound localization and improved hearing in noisy environments.