Cochlear Implant or CI is the surgical procedure performed to implant an electronic device to provide hearing sense to the candidate, who has hard of hearing or profoundly deaf and finds no benefit from using the hearing aids. The CI is also termed as a bionic ear. It provides representation of the sound to a deaf person, however, cannot restore the normal hearing.
The CI has two parts. The first part is outside or external part, which consists of a speech processor, microphone and a transmitter. The second part is internal or implanted part, which consists of a receiver-stimulating system and electrodes. The electrodes are inserted to the cochlea and the stimulating system is fit to the bone of the skull, present behind the ear.
Eligibility of the Candidate
- The candidate is an adult having acquired the speech, however, is deaf secondarily because of the ototoxicity, illness or injury.
- The deafness of the candidate must be of sensorineural kind.
- Candidate having no medical reason for avoiding the surgery.
- Candidate has the auditory nerve that is functioning.
- Congenital deaf children having speech disability.
- Children having acquired the speech, but lost the hearing sense due to injury, meningitis or viral illness, etc.
Before the Procedure
There are multiple factors to be considered to go for the cochlear implantation. The decision of the need of the surgery will be taken care by the transplant team associated with the ENT and the audiologist, after the following factors.
- Assessment of the severity of the loss of hearing, speech level and language using hearing aids for the trail and audiological assessment.
- MRI and CT imaging for complete brain and ear scanning. Structure, condition of the hearing nerves and inner ears are to be checked.
- Preoperative blood tests
- Vaccination by the physician or paediatrician for reducing the infection risk
- The patient is given the general anesthesia.
- The array of electrodes is inserted in the cochlea.
- The stimulator or the receiver is then secured and fixed in the skull. And then the area is covered with a bandage.
- Cochlear implant surgery takes about 2 hours of time and the hospital stay of 2 nights is needed after the surgery.
- The bandage is removed after four days of time.
- It takes about a week to recover and get back to the normal and regular activities including going to the workplace or school.
CI Switching and Working
Cochlear Implant works to stimulate the auditory nerve by bypassing the ear’s damaged portion. The implant generates the signals and these signals are reached to the brain through the auditory nerves. These signals are recognized by the brain as sound signals. It takes some time to learn and relearn the hearing through the implant. The patients will be able to understand the warning signals, other sound signals around and will get acquainted to go through the conversations or telephone conversations.
The implant is activated after 2 to 3 weeks of duration after the implantation is performed and this time is needed for complete healing of the incision. Then the implant will be mapped or programmed during the postoperative rehabilitation program, to execute the processor.
Post Operative Rehabilitation Program
The rehabilitation program is provided to the patient by the speech therapist, audiologist and parents of the patient.
Cost of Cochlear Implant Surgery
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