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What is cochlear implant?

Cochlear implant (CI) is an electronic device surgically implanted in inner ear for patients with severe to profound hearing loss. It picks sounds of speech and environment, converts them into electrical energy and stimulates appropriates areas of cochlear nerve which takes them to brain to be perceived as sound.

Who are the candidates for COCHLEAR IMPLANT?

Nasal airway obstruction can be due to three main reasons –

  1. Patients as young as 1 year and above can receive CI.
  2. Severe to profound hearing loss who receive inadequate benefits from traditional hearing aids.
  3. Hearing loss duration should be less than 05 years for good results.
  4. Absent inner ear (Cochlea) and Cochlear nerve is a contraindication.

What tests are done before CI?

Hearing tests like Pure Tone Audiometry, Tympanometry, Brainstem Evoked Emission (BERA), and Otoacoustic Emission (OAE) are done to assess function of ear. CT and MRI are done assess structure of ear and brain.

A trial with hearing aid is often done to see response of patients.

What does the surgery entail?

Under GA a small incision is given behind the ear for receiver stimulator placement and array of electrodes is inserted into inner ear or cochlea. Patient is discharged the next day. Device is switched on 03-04 weeks later. Patients start hearing.

Follow up after CI?

Children born deaf do not acquire language. After switch on of CI, children are given speech therapy to train them to listen and repeat language. One to two years of speech therapy is required to make them speak independently.

Adults and children, who acquire deafness after learning to speak, require a very short period of speech training.

CI is a revolutionary technology developed in last 30 years. Children born deaf, if implanted before the age of 2-3 years and given adequate speech therapy can match other normal hearing children in school at the age of 05 years onwards.