A Cochlear Implant is a remarkable medical device designed to provide a sense of sound to individuals with severe to profound hearing loss. Unlike traditional hearing aids, which amplify sounds, cochlear implants directly stimulate the auditory nerve, allowing individuals to perceive sound and speech. This revolutionary technology has transformed the lives of countless people, enabling them to communicate, connect, and experience the world in a profoundly new way.
Common Conditions Treated by The Department
- Severe to Profound Sensorineural Hearing Loss: Cochlear implant departments primarily treat individuals with severe to profound sensorineural hearing loss. This type of hearing loss is typically irreversible and caused by various factors, including genetics, infections, exposure to loud noises, or age-related degeneration of the inner ear's hair cells.
- Congenital Hearing Loss: Some individuals are born with hearing loss, which may be identified in infancy or later in childhood. Cochlear implants can be an effective solution for children with congenital hearing loss, enabling them to develop speech and language skills more effectively.
- Acquired Hearing Loss: Hearing loss can also be acquired later in life due to factors such as illness, trauma, or exposure to ototoxic medications. Cochlear implants may be an option for those who have exhausted other treatments and are not benefiting from hearing aids.
- Single-Sided Deafness: Cochlear implants are sometimes used to treat individuals with single-sided deafness. This condition can result from sudden hearing loss or other factors, and a cochlear implant in the deaf ear can help improve sound localization and overall hearing capabilities.
- Auditory Neuropathy Spectrum Disorder (ANSD): ANSD is a hearing disorder where the cochlear nerve does not function correctly. Cochlear implants can sometimes help individuals with ANSD by bypassing the damaged cochlear nerve and directly stimulating the auditory pathway.
- Bilateral Hearing Loss: Individuals with hearing loss in both ears often benefit from bilateral cochlear implants, which provide improved sound localization and overall hearing quality.
- Usher Syndrome: Usher syndrome is a genetic disorder that causes both hearing loss and vision impairment. Cochlear implants can address the hearing loss component of this syndrome.
- Meniere's Disease: In some cases, Meniere's disease, an inner ear disorder that leads to recurrent vertigo and hearing loss, may be managed with cochlear implants when other treatments are ineffective.
- Post-Meningitis Hearing Loss: Meningitis can lead to hearing loss, particularly in children. Cochlear implants may be recommended in cases where hearing aids do not provide sufficient benefit.
The most common procedure performed by Cochlear Implant Departments is the cochlear implant surgery, which involves several key steps:
- Patient Evaluation and Selection: Before the surgery, a comprehensive evaluation is conducted to assess the patient's suitability for a cochlear implant. This assessment includes audiologic, medical, and psychological evaluations. Candidates for cochlear implants typically have severe to profound sensorineural hearing loss and limited benefit from hearing aids.
- Preoperative Counseling: Patients and their families receive detailed counseling about the cochlear implant procedure, its risks and benefits, and post-operative expectations. Informed consent is obtained, and the patient's questions and concerns are addressed.
- Surgical Implantation: The cochlear implant surgery is typically performed under general anesthesia. During the procedure, several key steps are involved:
- Incision: An incision is made behind the ear or on the side of the head, depending on the specific implant model and surgeon's preference.
- Bone Drilling: A small hole is drilled in the mastoid bone behind the ear to access the middle ear space.
- Electrode Placement: The cochlear implant's electrode array is carefully threaded into the cochlea, a spiral-shaped structure in the inner ear responsible for hearing. The precise placement of the electrodes is critical for optimal hearing outcomes.
- Receiver-Stimulator Placement: A receiver-stimulator device, which houses the electronic components of the cochlear implant, is secured beneath the skin behind the ear.
- Wound Closure: The incisions are closed, and sutures or staples are used to secure the skin.
- Activation and Programming: After a healing period, usually several weeks post-surgery, the external components of the cochlear implant, including the speech processor and microphone, are connected. Audiologists and cochlear implant specialists program the device to the individual's specific hearing needs during a process known as "mapping" or "programming." Multiple sessions are often required to fine-tune the settings for optimal hearing performance.
- Rehabilitation and Follow-Up: Cochlear implant recipients undergo extensive auditory rehabilitation, which may include speech therapy, auditory training, and counseling to adapt to the new sensory experience. Regular follow-up appointments are scheduled to monitor progress and make necessary adjustments to the device's programming.
- Maintenance and Care: Patients and their families receive guidance on the proper care and maintenance of the cochlear implant equipment, including the external processor, microphone, and any accessories.
- Long-Term Management: Cochlear implant recipients require ongoing care and support from the Cochlear Implant Department. This includes routine check-ups, programming adjustments, troubleshooting assistance, and educational resources.
- Improved Communication: Cochlear implants can significantly enhance speech perception, allowing individuals to engage in conversations, hear music, and enjoy a wide range of auditory experiences.
- Enhanced Quality of Life: Being able to hear and communicate effectively boosts confidence, fosters social connections, and enriches overall well-being.
- Educational and Professional Opportunities: Cochlear implants open doors to educational and employment opportunities that may have been limited by severe hearing loss.
- Safety and Awareness: The ability to hear environmental sounds, such as alarms, traffic, and conversations, contributes to personal safety and situational awareness.
Call 011-42888888 to book an appointment with a specialist at Sri Balaji Action Medical Institute.