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Frequently Answered Questions about Cochlear Implant Surgery
For quite long, a wide range of methods has to be used to handle problems like hearing loss and offer effective solutions for people with hearing disorders. One of the most primary and primitive forms of assistive listening devices, hearing aids have undergone a variety of changes with the aid of technology. One of the most preferred and sought-after technique to treat hearing issues of various orders is a cochlear implant surgery.
Though the procedure involving implants was established in the mid-1960s, the use of implants on a significant scale commenced only in the early 1990s. As a matter of fact, patients with a hearing problem had a negative outlook towards these implants initially. But with its impact on the patients who could properly again, a paradigm shift in the approach taken for these implants have been brought.
The opposition toward the cochlear implants is a thing of past now. The level of acceptanc of cochlear implants has increased to a greater extent by the tight-knit deaf community. This article throws some light on what cochlear implant is and what involves a cochlear implant surgery.
What is a Cochlear implant?
An electronic device, a cochlear implant substitutes the function of the impaired inner ear. Quite different to hearing aids that actually makes the sound louder, the role of the cochlear implants is to find a way around the damaged hair cells of the inner ear, also called as cochlea, to allow the sound signals to be sent to the brain.
How does a cochlear implant work?
A cochlear implant comprises an external and internal portion which function together and produces a hearing simulation. Let us see what these parts are:
External parts: The external part of the implants involves a microphone, processor along with a transmitter.
Internal parts: The internal part of the implant consists of a receiver and an electrode system. This electrode produces a stream of currents through the cochlea that is processed with the help of an auditory nerve. The receiver is placed inside the skull bone in the rear part of the head, i.e. behind the ear. These electrodes are fixed inside the ear, which is actually close to the auditory nerve.
What is a Cochlear implant surgery?
The cochlear implant surgery process involves following three steps including,
1. Surgery: Otologists who work with cochlear implants performs cochlear surgery under general anesthesia. Cochlear implant surgery takes around one to five hours for completion. In this procedure, firstly, space is made inside the skull bone in the rear part of the head with the help of a driller in order to place a transmitter. Secondly, another space is created in the inner ear where the electrodes can be positioned.
2. Recovery: After the surgery, the patient takes a period ranging from one to four weeks to recover. During this time, the patients will not be able to hear. When the healing is complete, hearing is activated. Followed by which the otologist puts the magnet that establishes a connection between the inner and outer component.
3. Therapy: As the implant is being placed successfully, the patient needs to abide by a speech and hearing therapy that will prove helpful in processing the sounds in the right manner. In comparison to patients who are young, adults may take several months to recover completely.
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