Cochlear Implant

A cochlear implant is a unique hearing aid and it is certainly not for everyone. On the other hand, it is irreplaceable on several cases, as described below.

The cochlear implant is quite a breakthrough in the hearing rehabilitation field. It was first introduced around 1978. It enables some level of hearing to patients that couldn’t communicate using hearing before. Using the implant, these patients can now understand spoken language better and communicate much more efficiently.

Who is it for?

The cochlear implant is meant mainly for two populations:

 - Babies that are born with deep hearing loss and will not be able to enjoy standard hearing aids.

 - Adults deafened after having spoken language. But it is only relevant if you have a more or less functioning hearing nerve. The implant can help you if you have a non-functional inner ear but a functioning hearing nerve. This can be a life changer, have a look.

How does it work

(In a nutshell, and simplified)
Electrodes are inserted to the cochlea within the inner ear. These electrodes replace the damaged hair cells that for some reason don’t function as needed. The sounds from the outer world are processed and transmitted to the electrodes which in its turn stimulates the cochlea.

Parts

From the outside

 - A microphone, to receive the sounds from the environment

 - Speech processor, to processes the acoustic data and transform it to electric signals.

 - Transmitter, to send both power and the processed signals to the inner parts inside the skull. The signal it sends are electromagnetic.


From the inside

 - Receiver, to get the electromagnetic signals and to stimulate the electrodes with electric signals.

 - Electrodes, located inside the cochlea, sends signals to the hearing nerve.

The procedure

The procedure is a head surgery with general anesthesia. During the surgery, the internal parts are inserted. After a few weeks, and after the healing of the stitches, the outer parts are attached.


Only then begins a process that takes several months of hearing rehabilitation. During this period, you’ll have sessions with a speech pathologist to adjust the implant and to have hearing training in order to learn how to use the implant.

Leading implants

The three leading brands nowadays are:

 - Medel. Here is more on their latest cochlear implant.

 - Nucleus by a company named Cochlear

 - Advanced bionics







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