Cochlear implants are devices which are implanted to aid in hearing for people with very severe hearing loss and who are not benefitted from hearing aids. Here, we discuss various conditions where cochlear implants are used. We also discuss all the advantages and innovations of cochlear implants.
Hearing loss can occur in both children and adults. It can be categorized into mild, moderate, moderately severe, severe and profound hearing loss. Profound hearing loss refers to a condition when a person cannot hear sounds softer than 90 dB.
Causes of Hearing Loss
There are various causes of hearing loss. They are:
So, you have a hearing problem which does not improve with wearing hearing aids. Your doctor asks you to get a hearing test done and tells you that the hearing report says 'very severe or profound hearing loss' and you need to have a cochlear implant for this condition. Here, we discuss the cochlear implants, their uses, indications, contraindications, precautions, surgical procedure, and recent innovations.
A cochlear implant is an electronic device which is implanted in the cochlea and it directly stimulates the auditory nerve and aids hearing.
Parts of a Cochlear Implant
Various conditions where cochlear implants are required include:
CT or MRI imaging is done prior to implantation for evaluation of facial nerve, cochlea, cochleovestibular nerve, brain and brainstem as any aplasia/hypoplasia of cochlea, an absence of cochlear/auditory nerve or congenital malformations may alter the outcome.
Contraindications of Cochlear Implants
Get vaccinated with Prevnar or Pneumovax vaccine to prevent a risk of meningitis before cochlear implantation. The vaccines are available for both children and adults.
Complications are few:
Surgical procedure for implantation is performed under general anesthesia. It involves making an incision behind the ear to create a well for placing the receiver and small cochleostomy for insertion of the electrode array.
Facial nerve monitoring is required during the procedure to prevent injury to the facial nerve.
In the case of bilateral hearing impairment, implantation is preferably done in the ear with better hearing.
Patients can be sent home one to two hours after surgery with dressing on the ear and follow up for seven days.
Preoperative and postoperative steroids are given.
Various types of cochlear implant systems are available which includes Clarion, Med El, Nucleus systems. Various innovations in implant design are available.
MRI compatible implants are also available with a removable magnet, which can be replaced later on after the procedure.
Recent innovations include cochlear implants that use laser pulses to trigger auditory signals from hair cells into the inner ear.
Research is being carried out to design better implants for the best communication outcome.
For more information consult an ENT otolaryngologist online --> https://www.icliniq.com/ask-a-doctor-online/ENT-Otolaryngologist
Last reviewed at:
25 Feb 2019 - 2 min read
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