Hearing loss will impact many aspects of life such as the ability to communicate with others and enjoy the things you used to like watching movies and listening to music. Though hearing aids can often be a good solution, they offer only limited benefits for people with severe hearing loss in both ears. In these cases, a cochlear implant presents patients with a safe and effective opportunity to dramatically improve how well they hear.
What is a Cochlear Implant?
Unlike a hearing aid, which can only amplify sound, a cochlear is a medical device implant that mimics the function of the inner ear to help sounds become louder and clearer. It works by stimulating the inner ear and nerve cells.
When one suffers from severe hearing loss, it is usually caused by damage to the inner ear which is then no longer capable of transforming sound vibrations into signals that will get sent to the auditory nerve. The cochlear implant takes on this important role and is able to help restore a significant portion of the person’s hearing.
Frequently Asked Questions About Cochlear Implants
Here are some of the most common questions patients have about cochlear implants.
- Is the device fully implantable or will anything show?
Yes, there is a part that shows. The external part of the cochlear implant is called the processor. This piece, which looks similar to a hearing aid, contains a microphone, a speech processor, and a transmitter.
There’s also an internal part, called the receiver, which will be buried under the skin.
- How long does the surgery take? Would I have to stay overnight in the hospital?
The surgery is ambulatory, which means you don’t need to stay in the hospital. It takes around two hours to perform the surgery itself. After that, you will spend a couple of hours resting in the recovery room and then you can go home.
- Is the surgery painful?
No, there will not be much pain. The surgery is performed under general anesthesia
- Are cochlear implants covered by my insurance?
Yes, most insurance plans will cover this device.
- How long has cochlear implant technology been available? How many of these surgeries have you done?
Cochlear implant technology was first introduced in the early ’80s but the technology has significantly improved since then.
The quality of the sound-processing, and the overall results of this hearing loss solution, is better than ever. The Silverstein Institute has highly experienced doctors who have performed hundreds of these surgeries.
- How successful is this procedure?
It’s very successful. We can safely say that most patients with severe hearing loss will experience a real improvement from having a cochlear implant.
When compared to hearing aids, this medical device provides much better outcomes for restoring the hearing of patients with severe to profound hearing loss.
- How long will the cochlear implant last? Would I ever need to have surgery again?
In the vast majority of cases, the surgery will only be done once. Any necessary updates to the system are done through the processor, using a computer.
The rare situation where it’s possible to need further surgery would be if something happens internally with the implant electrode, causing it to break and need replacement.
If you would like to determine whether you or a loved one can benefit from using a cochlear implant, we can help. First Physicians Group Silverstein Institute is a full-service practice with caring doctors and state-of-the-art facilities.