Cochlear Implant – The hope for Deafness
1. what is Cochlear Implant?
A cochlear implant is an electronic device that improves hearing. It can be an option for people who have severe hearing loss from inner-ear damage and who are not able to hear well with hearing aids.
2. How is it different from Hearing Aids?
Unlike hearing aids, which amplify sound, a cochlear implant bypasses damaged portions of the ear to deliver sound signals to the hearing (auditory) nerve directly.
3. How does Cochlear Implant works?
Cochlear implants use a sound processor that fits behind the ear. The processor captures sound signals and sends them to a receiver implanted under the skin behind the ear. The receiver sends the signals to electrodes implanted in the snail-shaped inner ear (cochlea).
The signals stimulate the auditory nerve, which then directs the signals to the brain. The brain interprets those signals as sounds, though these sounds won’t be just like natural hearing. Hearing through a cochlear implant is different from normal hearing and takes time to learn or relearn. However, it allows many people to recognize warning signals, understand other sounds in the environment, and understand speech in person or over the tele phone.
4. Can patients starts hearing immediately?
It takes time and training to learn to interpret the signals received from a cochlear implant. Within 3 to 6 month of use, most people with cochlear implants make considerable gains in understanding speech..
5. Can it be done in one ear or both the side together?
Cochlear implants may be placed in one ear (unilateral) or both ears (bilateral). Cochlear implants are often placed in both ears at the same time in infants as young as 6 to 12 months and children with bilateral severe hearing loss —who are learning to speak and process language. Adults of any age can benefit from cochlear implants.
6. How does it benefit?
People who had cochlear implants following benefits are reports after Cochlear Implant Surgery
- Ability to hear speech without needing visual cues such as reading lips.
- Recognition of everyday environmental sounds.
- Ability to listen in a noisy environment.
- Ability to find where sounds are coming from
- Ability to hear television programs, music and telephone conversations.
- Decrease in Symptoms of ringing or buzzing (tinnitus) in the implanted ear in adults.
7. What are the tests done before Cochlear implant?
- Tests for hearing and speech
- Physical examination by Pediatrician to assess health
- MRI or CT imaging tests of the skull to assess the condition of the cochlea and inner ear structure
- Children should have done Hearing Aid trial for minimum 3 months
- Psychological evaluation of child by Psychologist
- Vaccination for Pneumococcal and Influenz
Till now 11 cases has been operated free of cost.
KLES Dr Prabhakar Kore Hospital and MRC Belgaum is the only private hospital in North Karnataka which is empanelled for free Cochlear implant surgery scheme.
Dr. Priti Santosh Hajare
Professor, Department of ENT and HNS
MBBS, DLO, DORL, DNB, PhD, MNAMS