A cochlear implant can bring a sense of hearing to children born without it. The internal component is installed during the surgery and the external component is usually fixed a few weeks later. Cochlear implant surgery is counted among the most expensive surgeries, which is why many parents are unable to obtain it for their children. Here’s a list of the 10 most important things you need to know about cochlear implant surgery.
1-What is a Cochlear Implant?
Some people might confuse a cochlear implant with a hearing aid, but they are very different. A cochlear implant does not enhance sound signals, which is the function of a hearing aid. Instead, it works differently to help people with their hearing. A cochlear implant skips the damaged sections of the ear to transfer signals to the receiving (auditory) nerve, which can then send them to the brain.
2-What is the success rate of Cochlear Implant Surgery and how long does it take?
Only a small number of patients who undergo the surgery reject their cochlear implants or choose not to use them. Cochlear implants rarely malfunction. This means that cochlear implants are highly effective. Cochlear implant surgeries take two to four hours.
3- How does the cochlear implant work?
The auditory nerve is stimulated by the signals sent by the cochlear implant. The brain perceives them as sounds.
Deciphering the signals from a cochlear implant requires practice and time. However, many cochlear implant users improve their ability to interpret speech significantly within the first three to six months of use.
4-What are some of the risks associated with cochlear implants?
Generally, any procedure involving general anesthesia involves a certain amount of risk. However, most patients undergoing this surgery only need to stay in the hospital for one day. Cochlear implant surgery is considered to be safe, but there are some risks, including loss of any residual, bleeding, and infection.
5-Who needs to undergo cochlear implant surgery?
Cochlear implant surgery is performed on the advice of doctors. Children with hearing loss are the main recipients of cochlear implants. It is advised for those who are unable to benefit from a hearing aid.
6-Does the cochlear implant surgery hurt?
Patients who undergo this surgery may experience mild to moderate pain in and around the ear. They might also feel lightheaded or experience a headache.
7-How long do cochlear implants last?
These hearing devices are designed to last a lifetime. This means that a patient with hearing loss only needs to undergo cochlear implant surgery once.
8-Can a person swim, shower, or perform any activities with water while they have cochlear implants?
When people with hearing loss are not wearing the external component of the cochlear implant, they can take a bath or engage in almost any water-related activity. However, bungee jumping and scuba diving are the two activities that should not be undertaken as it is not advisable to undergo considerable air pressure fluctuations.
9-What other devices are used by hearing-impaired patients?
Besides cochlear implants, some of the other devices used by hearing-impaired patients include hearing aid, vibrotactile aid, auditory brainstem implant, and bone-anchored hearing aid (BAHA).
10-How much does a cochlear implant cost?
The cost of a cochlear implant surgery ranges from around PKR 1.5 million to 2.5 million, which is why many underprivileged patients in Pakistan cannot afford to pay for it.
Transparent Hands is providing free cochlear implant surgeries to hundreds of children belonging to underprivileged communities all across Pakistan. Help us improve the lives of more children with hearing loss. Donate generously!
(The information in this article should not be taken as a substitute for professional medical advice.)