Hearing deformities, in most cases can be solved using a simple hearing aid. One just needs to set the device it in the ear and he or she is good to go. However, in some cases, even the hearing aid does not help. In such cases, severe damages to internal hearing sensors are caused at birth or during an accident or as a side-effect developed when treating disorders like Meningitis. A cochlear implant is the best possible option in these cases.
What is a CochlearTM Implant?
A cochlear implant is totally different from a hearing aid, the scope of an implant comes into being once it is clear that hearing aids are not helpful anymore. Here part of the device, receiver, is surgically implanted under the skin behind the ear through a small cut and the electrodes are surgically inserted into the cochlea.
The external unit consists of 2 parts. First one is a speech processor that is connected to a headpiece by a cord. It magnetically attaches to the internal unit and sends a signal to the second unit, that is, a sound processor.
Unlike a regular hearing aid, Cochlear implant provides a sensation of hearing by directly stimulating the auditory nerve using electrical signals.
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Who should get a Cochlear Implant?
The need of Cochlear implant is for those suffering from profound and severe hearing loss regardless of whether he or she is an Adult or a New Born.
Ideally, the eligibility of a Cochlear Implant is decided on a case to case basis. However, in the case of children, experts recommend an early implantation so that the child can hear sounds as that is critical to their development.
As per the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, the general candidacy guidelines are as follows:
Cochlear Implant for Children
Both FDA and American Speech-Language-Hearing Association agree that children as young as 1 year can get an implant. A cochlear implant is best for children when they:
- Have profound hearing loss in both ears.
- Get little or no benefit through the use of hearing aids.
- Are healthy and any medical conditions would not compromise surgery.
- Understand (when able), along with their parents, their role in the successful use of cochlear implants.
- Have support from an educational program that will emphasize the development of auditory skills.
Image credits : http://www.kgh.on.ca
Hearing loss in infants: Causes
Children at such a young age may have hearing loss. It may be mild, moderate, severe, or profound. Profound hearing loss is termed as deafness. It can be due to various reasons like:
- Family history of hearing loss
- Low birth weight
- Birth defects that cause changes in the structure of the ear canal or middle ear
- Buildup of ear wax
- Buildup of fluid behind the eardrum
- Injury to or rupture of the eardrum
- Objects stuck in the ear canal
- Scar on the eardrum from many infections
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Cochlear Implant for Adults
Unlike children, Cochlear implants for adults can be done regardless of whether they lost their hearing before or after learning the language. However, people who had developed language before they lost their hearing have a higher chance of success compared to the people who had not developed language before losing their hearing.
A Cochlear implant is best for adults when they:
- Have severe or profound hearing loss in both ears.
- Get little or no benefit from hearing aids.
- Have no medical problems that could put them at risk during surgery.
- Have a strong desire to be part of the hearing world and communicate through listening, speaking, and speechreading.
While it is better to have some sort of hearing power, doctors suggest that an implant should be ideally done in both the ears. These implants give the best results in children when hearing impairment is identified at an early stage.
Post Cochlear implant Speech Therapy
A person or a child with a cochlear implant has an opportunity to learn to perceive sound and develop speech. However, post the implant it takes typically 3-6 weeks for the ear to heal post which the surgeon attaches the external transmitter.
Furthermore, one should remember that cochlear implants only enable you to hear. Speech therapy post Cochlear implant is critical for the best result.
Post the implant the child is able to hear sounds however since the brain gets developed in such a way it is not dependent on sound anymore. Hence, auditory rehabilitation helps the kid to learn how to understand the sounds nearby. This auditory rehabilitation post the cochlear implant is as important as the surgery itself.
A speech pathologist will help the child to learn how to identify various sounds. He can learn to articulate various sounds, words, and phrases.
During this period parents should also talk frequently with your child and encourage his interaction with other family members and non-family members.
Cochlear Implant in India
Cochlear has helped bring the gift of sound to more than quarter of a million people across the world. For over 30 years Cochlear has been a pioneer in developing technologically advanced solutions that offer superior hearing performance.
Australian cricket great, Brett Lee, is Cochlear’s Global Hearing Ambassador. As Cochlear Ambassador, Brett spearheads the ‘#SoundsofCricket’ campaign to raise awareness of the significant medical, social and economic impacts hearing loss can have on individuals and their families.
For Cochlear Implants in India, the company has made a range of product offerings which one can choose basis his or her requirements. One of the latest products and the most technologically advanced product is Kanso™ Sound processor, which is very discreet and wireless.
To get a Cochlear implant one has to consult with his or her doctor about treatment for hearing loss alternatively one can find a Cochlear implant clinic here.