Hearing loss can be caused by a variety of factors, including aging and exposure to loud noises. The World Health Organization estimates that 430 million people around the world are affected by hearing loss.
Although there are many options for treating hearing impairment, none have been able to restore normal hearing completely. A cochlear implant has the potential to help patients hear in noisy environments or understand speech better than with conventional devices like hearing aids.
Cochlear implants use an array of electrodes surgically implanted into the inner ear to stimulate auditory nerve cells directly, bypassing damaged portions of the ear entirely. The system allows users to perceive sounds via electric signals sent from a microphone worn on the body or head (depending on type) through an external processor unit worn outside their clothing near their waistline area onto which they receive sound information from a transmitter placed behind either earlobe or neck.
What is a cochlear implant?
A cochlear implant is a small, complex electronic device that can help to provide a sense of sound for people who are profoundly deaf or severely hard-of-hearing with the use of an external portion that sits behind the ear and a second portion surgically placed under the skin. The implant provides information to be transmitted through electrodes on its surface that stimulate parts of a person’s auditory system.
Parts of a cochlear implant
Microphone – picks up sound from the environment.
Speech processor – selects and arranges sounds picked up by the microphone.
Transmitter and receiver/stimulator – receives signals from the speech processor and converts them into electric impulses.
Electrode array – a group of electrodes that collects the impulses from the stimulator and sends them to different locations of the auditory nerve.
A deaf individual may not be able to hear the world around them, but an implant can give them a representation of sounds that they can understand.
How does a cochlear implant work?
It works by bypassing damaged portions of the ear and directly stimulating the auditory nerve. Signals generated by the implant are sent by way of the auditory nerve to the brain, which recognizes these signals as sound.
The cochlear implant is different from a hearing aid in that it does not amplify sounds like a hearing aid would. Instead, cochlear implants work by generating its own electric signal.
Who gets cochlear implants?
The idea of cochlear implants is a fairly common one. But, the question remains – who gets them? You may be surprised to learn that cochlear implants are not just for people with significant hearing loss or deafness. In fact, they can work wonders on an individual who has always had some degree of hearing loss. If you’ve never been able to carry on a conversation in the same room as someone else due to any amount of permanent hearing loss, then cochlear implants might be right for you.
Cochlear implants are electronic devices surgically implanted within the inner ear to provide hearing capability to those who have no sound sensitivity because of heredity, injury or advanced age. The device sends out electrical signals based on incoming sounds which are sent from either a microphone (when outside) or from the voice box when talking.
Along with electric signals, the cochlear implant also presents an electromagnetic stimulus (usually in the form of radio waves). Cochlear implants are approved by FDA for children and adults who suffer hearing loss due to illness or injury.
Cochlear implants work best in children because their cells are still developing and a cochlear implant can help them learn to understand speech and build vocabulary. The process of getting fitted with a cochlear implant, followed by intensive therapy before the age of 18 months will greatly improve the quality of sound that child hears. While cochlear implants do not cure hearing loss they are hugely beneficial for those born deaf or with severe hearing impairments.
Some adults who have lost all or most of their hearing later in life can also enjoy better hearing with cochlear implants. They learn to associate the signals from the implant with sounds they remember, such as speech, without needing to rely on any visual cues such as those provided by lipreading or sign language.
How does someone receive a cochlear implant?
The surgical procedure is the first step in receiving a cochlear implant. It involves making a small incision and inserting a device under the skin behind your ear to stimulate nerve cells. The technology has progressed so much that it allows for individuals who are deaf or hearing-impaired to quickly relearn how to hear.
This often requires extensive therapy including speech, language, and auditory training programs where you can learn what sounds mean certain words or when somebody is calling out your name from across the room. Not everyone performs at the same level with this device but many people go on to lead normal lives with their friends and family members after getting one implanted.
You may have heard that there are risks when it comes to getting surgery, and you’re not wrong. The same goes for surgical implantations. You’ll just need to get used to interpreting the sounds created by your implants. But don’t worry, they won’t always sound weird or strange. A speech-language pathologist who is also an audiologist can help with this process – so make sure you let them know if anything doesn’t seem right in order for them to help.
What is the success rate of a cochlear implant?
Cochlear implants are the most successful medical prosthesis in history. Less than two percent of recipients reject it or do not use it and the failure rate needing reimplantation is half a percent.
How long do cochlear implants last?
Over time, the sound quality will change as the brain re-learns the stimulation patterns provided by the cochlear implant. For most patients, this process will continue for at least six to twelve months. The cochlear implant is a lifelong commitment that offers an improved quality of life over hearing aids and traditional methods of communication for those who have been deaf or hard of hearing all their lives.
Cochlear Implants | Fort Wayne, Indiana
A cochlear implant is a device that can help those with hearing problems hear clearer. It works by sending a signal to the brain, which stimulates the nerve leading to the inner ear. This treatment is best for people who are not helped enough by hearing aids or have very poor clarity in their ears.
HearCare Audiology offers consulting services for those who are interested in learning more about cochlear implants. A lack of early intervention can pave the road to deafness, so it is important that you intervene sooner rather than later.
To know more about this option, visit HearCare Audiology Indiana and our audiologists will be happy to give you an honest assessment of your condition.