Just when one starts thinking that the wonders of the 21st century are discussed, perhaps, in a rather exaggerated manner, a breakthrough innovation or invention stuns one into awe once more. Searching for examples? Don’t go too far, all that you need to do is have a look at what the biomedical sector has been churning up since the last decade or so. Cochlear implants might be a drop in the sea of biomedical innovation, but they are a perfect example of the revolutionary transformation which the healthcare sector has experienced in the last few decades. In today’s discussion, we are going to bring to your attention how a cochlear implant can enable the deaf to enjoy the chirping of this boisterous world once more. Apart from recapping the events of the procedure, we will talk about the success rates and the cost-effectiveness of the procedure as well. Lots to learn from this discussion, if you are a complete novice to the topic!
Cochlear implant surgery: An overview
What exactly does a cochlear implant mean? Ditching the ambiguities and technicalities, you can think of a cochlear implant as an electronic device, the purpose of which is to enervate the cochlear nerve. Now for those who skipped their biology lectures, the cochlear nerve is the chief player in the process of hearing. If anything goes awry with the cochlear nerve, the ability of hearing is reduced significantly. Cochlear implants are a perfect choice for anyone who is well past the stage where hearing aids can be of any help. We will talk about this comparison in the next section, but for now, you should know how a cochlear implant works. Well, the basic objective is to improve the delivery of sound signals to the auditory never. This objective is achieved by bypassing the damaged portion of the ear, the damage being inflicted on the cochlear nerve in most cases.
Cochlear implant vs hearing aids
Which one suits whom? Well, this decision normally depends on the extent of the ear damage, age, and certain other factors. But it wouldn’t hurt to talk about the basic principles of both procedures here, right? A hearing aid is an extremely effective tool in amplifying acoustic sounds and specific frequencies. For better understanding, you can think of hearing aids as a magnifier. On the other hand, surgical cochlear implants completely change how you hear a particular sound. Why do we say this? Well because a cochlear implant translates acoustic signals into electrical signals, which are then transmitted to the auditory nerve, and then finally to the brain. So you see what are we talking about? The experience is different from what you might experience with a hearing aid.
Cochlear implants success rates
When it comes down to evaluating the effectiveness of cochlear implants, what you must understand is that clinical researchers are constantly striving hard to improve the existing protocol of such surgeries. The idea is to minimize the risk of rejection, as well as improve the patient experience during cochlear implant surgery. But we bet you will be pleasantly surprised to know that the rejection rate of a cochlear implant is as low as 0.2% [i]! Even more amazing is the percentage of failure rate needing re-implantation, which typically hovers around 0.5%. So, cochlear implants are one of the safest medical prostheses. However, the probability of things going a little south can never be ruled out completely. This is exactly the reason why only the best hands in an OT should be fiddling around with your ears!
How much does a cochlear implant cost?
Cochlear implants are very, very expensive. If you belong to a middle-class or underprivileged section of society, your chances of unmuting the world are quite bleak. It costs more than a couple of millions of PKR to have a cochlear implant surgery, which is the general estimate anyways. For some, it is the sort of money that they will never see in their life probably. And the numbers only increase from there onwards. Depending upon different metrics, the cost of a cochlear implant can increase as much as $30,000, in some cases, it even touches the 50K mark as well.
Role of NGOs in helping the deaf via cochlear implants
Many NGOs and INGOs are striving hard in Pakistan to ensure that everyone who cannot afford a cochlear implant surgery has a chance of restoring his or her hearing ability. NGOs like IMRA, SADA, and PBM are nothing but centers of hope for those who want to hear the hustle and bustle of the world, once more. However, the one name that stands out in this list of front-line warriors is that of Transparent Hands.
Cochlear implants are common at Transparent Hands. Many deaf individuals can finally hear the noise of this busy world, once more. Transparent Hands is the largest technological platform for crowdfunding in the healthcare sector of Pakistan. It offers a complete range of free healthcare services including medical and surgical treatments, medical camps, and telehealth facilities to the underprivileged community of Pakistan. Donors from all over the world can use the Transparent Hands crowdfunding web portal and donate through 100% secure payment modes. They could select any patient, fund the treatment, and receive regular feedback and updates until the patient has recovered completely.
Conclusion – Cochlear implant enable the deaf to hear
Thank you science! That’s what you must be saying in your heart after reading this account of a surgical procedure that can restore the hearing ability like a magic hat would do! We have run out of the space and time we had allocated for this discussion. But that doesn’t mean this is all that is there to know about cochlear implant surgeries! For example, we wish we could have given you an even more detailed insight into the surgery itself as well as explain the finer nitty-gritties associated with the topic. But oh well, some other day maybe? Nevertheless, we are still pretty optimistic that you learned a lot of new stuff from this discussion, and on that optimistic note, we bid you farewell from this space!