Get E-Book on COVID-19

Ear health Data Verified

Cochlear Implants - Uses and Innovations

Published on Jun 29, 2018 and last reviewed on Feb 25, 2019   -  2 min read



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.

Cochlear Implants - Uses and Innovations

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

  1. Sound processor containing a microphone, battery, coil, and electronics which is fitted on the outer skin behind the ear.
  2. The implant, which is placed in the cochlea, houses a coil which receives signals and an array of electrodes for stimulation of the cochlear nerve.


Various conditions where cochlear implants are required include:

  1. Severe to profound sensorineural hearing loss.
  2. Patients not benefitted from hearing aids.
  3. Patients not preferring hearing aids.
  4. Can also be implanted in infants earlier for a better outcome, that is, better oral communication in later life.

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

  1. An absence of cochlea.
  2. An absence of cochlear nerve.
  3. Active middle ear infection.

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:

  1. Risk of meningitis.
  2. Facial nerve paralysis 1 %.
  3. Device failure requiring reimplantation 2 to 6 %.
  4. Transient vertigo.
  5. CSF (cerebrospinal fluid) leak.


Surgical Procedure

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 -->


This is a sponsored Ad. icliniq or icliniq doctors do not endorse the content in the Ad.

Last reviewed at:
25 Feb 2019  -  2 min read


Dr. Bindia

Dr. Bindia


Consult by PhoneConsult by Phone Video ChatVideo Chat


Comprehensive Medical Second Opinion.Submit your Case

Related Questions & Answers

Please suggest ayurveda treatment for hearing loss.

Query: Hi doctor,I am a 46 year old man having diagnosed with a bilateral sensorineural hearing loss. I have been experiencing this for the last two months. Please suggest any ayurveda treatment for the same?  Read Full »

What can be done for age-related hearing loss?

Query: Hello doctor,My 68 year old mother has a hearing problem. I understand it is due to her age but is there any device which can enhance the hearing in her case?  Read Full »

Is it possible for mild hearing loss to reverse by itself?

Query: Hi doctor, I recently had a hearing test which indicated mild hearing loss at the 4k Hz level. The audiologist said not to worry about it at all, protect my ears and it will very unlikely worsen. He even mentioned that it may reverse itself. I am only 32 years old, so I understand any recording abo...  Read Full »

Popular Articles Most Popular Articles

Do you have a question on ?

Ask a Doctor Online

* guaranteed answer within 4 hours.

Disclaimer: All health articles published on this website is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical diagnosis, advice or treatment by a trained physician. Seek the advice from your physician or other qualified health-care providers with questions you may have regarding your symptoms and medical condition for a complete medical diagnosis. Do not delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice because of something you have read on this website.