Cochlear implantation

Cochlear implantation

Cochlear implants — which bypass damaged or dysfunctional parts of the inner ear — can improve hearing for people with hearing loss that cannot be adequately managed with conventional hearing aids. Cochlear implants are electronic devices that convert acoustic sounds into electrical pulses which stimulate the auditory nerve directly. Cochlear implants help in understanding speech in everyday listening situations — even with hearing aids. Children and adults who had speech and language skills before losing their hearing generally have an easier time adapting to cochlear implants than those who have never experienced hearing at all.

How is it performed?

  • Before the start of the procedure, the patient is given general anaesthesia.
  • The surgeon makes a cut behind the ear and opens the mastoid bone.
  • The surgeon identifies the facial nerves and creates an opening between them to access the cochlea, which is then opened.
  • The cochlear implant’s electrodes are inserted into the cochlea.
  • The surgeon places an electronic device called the receiver under the skin behind the ear, securing it to the skull in this area, and the incision is then closed.
  • The patient is shifted to the recovery room post the procedure for observation.
  • About four to six weeks after the surgery, the external parts of the cochlear implant are added. These include a microphone and speech processor.
  • At this time, the speech processor is programmed and activated, which causes the internal device to stimulate the cochlear nerve in response to sounds.
  • The patient may need to return for further fine-tuning over the next few months.

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