What is a cochlear implant?
A cochlear implant is a surgically placed device for individuals with moderate-severe to profound hearing loss. To be eligible for a cochlear implant specific requirements need to be met.
How do cochlear implants work?
There are two main components of a cochlear implant: the processor and the implant. The sound processor is positioned right behind the ear and uses microphones to pick up speech and environmental sounds. The implant is surgically placed under the skin behind the ear. The electrode array is implanted within the cochlea (main organ of hearing). The sound captured by the processor is first converted into a digital signal which is transmitted into the internal implant. The implant then converts the digital sound into an electrical signal which is dispersed to the electrode array inside the cochlea. The electrodes stimulate the nerve fibers and send the sound signals to the brain.
What is the treatment process?
Step 1: Contact our office to schedule a cochlear implant hearing evaluation. The appointment usually takes 60-90 minutes, and includes testing with hearing aids. If you are a candidate by audiological measures, you will then be referred to a surgeon for a medical evaluation. Once you receive medical clearance, a surgery date will be scheduled.
Step 2: The cochlear implant surgery by an otolaryngologist (ENT physician) is typically done under general anesthesia and lasts only a couple of hours.
Step 3: Usually a month after your implant surgery, the processor will be activated by our audiologist.
Step 4: Follow-up appointments will be scheduled with your Audiologist as your brain adapts to the new sounds. This will allow you to get the most out of your new hearing. There are many tools and resources to help support you during this process.
Connect with other cochlear implant recipients
There is a large community of people who have received cochlear implants throughout the world. They can be a great resource to you as you go through this process. Visit Cochlear Americas online community to find individual stories and see how you can get involved.