Hearing loss can affect a person in many ways! It can compromise the learning abilities, affect confidence, cause speech impairment and ultimately lead to poor quality of life. In the last two decades, the medical speciality – ENT witnessed significant advancements in treating patients with poor hearing, transforming the lives of countless patients for good!
One of the major medical breakthroughs in the world of ENT is – Cochlear Implants. An electronic device, Cochlear Implants, is a boon for those with severe hearing loss caused due to inner-ear damage, whereas hearing aids fail to improve the auditory quality.
Cochlear implants not only improve and amplify the quality of sound but also evade damaged parts of the ear and deliver sound signals to the auditory nerve. These implants come with a sound processor that is placed behind the ear, which captures sound signals and transfers them to the receiver implanted, beneath the skin, just behind the ear. The receiver then sends the signs to the electrodes implanted in the inner ear or cochlea, stimulating the auditory nerve and directing it to the brain.
The brain interprets these signals as sound. However, people with a Cochlear implant would require between 3 to 6 months to understand these sounds and master the speech.
Cochlear implantation recommended greatly for those with severe loss of hearing. In certain people, hearing aids are of little help; in such cases, Cochlear implants are a significant boon and these devices can be placed in either one ear (unilateral) or both ears (bilateral). These implants can be used as young as six months, and in children, they are often placed in both ears to learn about various sounds and process the language.
Even in noisy surroundings, people with Cochlear implants significantly improve their hearing ability. The person with a cochlear implant would be able to find out the source of the sound, enjoy television and music programs and converse over the phone.
Cochlear implants come with internal and external parts. There are two options for these implants – Internal Cochlear with an External Cochlear implant and charger and an Internal Cochlear with behind-the-ear external Cochlear. The one with the charger has to be charged whenever it is required.
During the procedure, the surgeon makes a small incision behind the ear and makes a small hole in the skull bone or mastoid. The internal device is then placed in it, and another small opening is made in the cochlea or the inner ear that connects the electrode with the internal device.
The incision is then stitched while the implant rests behind the ear, under the skin.
An audiologist activates the transplant by adjusting the sound processor and checking the functioning of a cochlear implant. While doing this, an audiologist also assesses if the patient is able to listen to sounds.
The patient may have to undergo some training to make the brain understand and process the sounds. Kids might require speech therapy to decipher the noise from their surroundings and differentiate between the voices. Patients might require regular follow-up to review their progress for the first few months.
The device might require programming and auditory testing periodically for better results.
The outcome of wearing a Cochlear implant may vary from person to person. Kids born with congenital hearing problems would benefit significantly if done at a very young age – like a few months after the birth.
Over some time, Cochlear implants get to enjoy better hearing.
With 28 hospitals across the nation and over 4000+ beds, Fortis Healthcare Limited is a leading integrated healthcare delivery service provider in India. For over 26 years, Fortis Hospitals have been committed to the cause of getting people back to their lives faster and stronger.