A cochlear implant is a small, sophisticated processing tool that can assist a human who’s severely autistic or extremely hard-of-hearing to help him/her gain a sense of hearing. An exterior part of the implant lies behind the ear, and a second part is inserted directly beneath the skin. The following components make up an implant:
- A microphone that picks up audio from the surrounding area.
- A speech converter is a device that chooses and organizes sounds captured by a microphone.
- A transmitter and receiver/stimulator that receive voice controller signals and transform them into electrical currents.
- An electrode array collects wires that gather ablation pulses and directs them to various parts of the peripheral nerves.
What happens during cochlear implant surgery?
A hospital or clinic is used to perform cochlear implant surgery. The procedure takes two to four hours to complete. During the process, you will be put on medication (general anesthesia) to put you to sleep.
- The mastoid bone is opened after the doctor takes a cut behind the ear.
- The doctor locates the facial nerves and cuts a gap between them to access the cochlea, which is then accessed. The implant electrodes are inserted into the cochlea by the doctor.
- The doctor secures an electronic device named the receiver to the skull in this area by placing it under the ear’s skin.
- The incisions are then shut, and you’ll be sent to a recovery room, where you’ll be closely monitored.
- After at least two hours of observation, you will be released.
Why it’s Done?
People with severe hearing loss who are no further assisted by hearing aids may benefit from cochlear implants. Cochlear implants should help them communicate better and live a better life.
Cochlear implants may be implanted in either one (unilateral) or both (bilateral) ears (bilateral). Cochlear implants in both ears are becoming more common in treating bilateral severe hearing loss, especially in infants and children learning to communicate and manipulate speech.
Cochlear implants can help adults and children as young as six to twelve months old. Those who have cochlear implants say they’ve noticed an improvement in:
- Hearing speech without the use of visual cues such as reading lips
- Normal environmental sounds can be recognized.
- Listening ability in a noisy environment
- Skill to locate the source of sounds
- Hearing news shows, music, and telephone conversations
You must meet the following criteria to be considered for a cochlear implant:
- Hearing loss is so extreme that it causes the spoken conversation to be disrupted.
- Hearing aids provide minimal effectiveness, as decided by specialized hearing tests.
- There are no health issues or influences that raise the risk of cochlear implants.
- High desire to take part in auditory rehab and be a member of the hearing community.
Is insurance going to cover cochlear implants?
Many personal and business insurers, as well as Medicare and Medicaid, reimburse cochlear implants. The extent of insurance varies, and patients may be liable for substantial out-of-pocket expenses.
Many cochlear implant specialists have devoted insurance specialists on personnel who can assist patients in understanding and navigating health policies and answer questions. Prior authorization for cochlear implants may be required for insurance to cover the cost.