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What is a Cochlear Implant?
Cochlear implants are used when hearing loss is severe enough to mean that normal hearing aids don’t help enough.
A cochlear implant is a device that is inserted under the skin behind the ear. It includes an electrode that is inserted into the hearing organ (the cochlea), which stimulates the hearing organ to allow the person to hear. It works with an external hearing aid.
Why do I need a Cochlear Implant?
If a person has severe hearing loss, then even the most powerful hearing aids may not help enough. People in this situation may still have difficulty understanding what people are saying. We know that people in this situation are at risk of depression and dementia, as they communicate less with people around them.
Sometimes, children may be born with hearing loss this severe – even with hearing aids they may never be able to understand voices or develop speech.
Cochlear implants work differently to hearing aids. Instead of just amplifying the sounds, and playing them into the ear, they bypass the part of the hearing pathway that is the cause of the hearing loss. They do this by using a tiny electrical charge to stimulate the hearing nerve.
Risks with a Cochlear Implant
Cochlear implantation is a routine operation, and it is very unusual to have any complications. The devices inserted are electrical devices and very rarely, they may develop faults and need to be replaced. Inserting the device requires an operation and this involves small risks. It is the aim of surgery to keep any acoustic hearing during surgery, but this can be lost, and sometimes people feel dizzy after the operation. More serious complications are extremely rare.
Results from a Cochlear Implant
Do they give normal hearing?
The quality of the sound that people hear when they start to use a cochlear implant is a little bit different to what they’re used to. However, after a few months of using the implant, the sound becomes more and more normal. People who have implants often comment on noticing sounds like birds singing which they may not have noticed they had lost. Having a cochlear implant can interfere with having MRI scans and some kinds of rarely used medical treatments.
To ask a question about Cochlear Implant Surgery at OneWelbeck or to book an appointment, contact our team today.
We are available from Monday to Friday: 8am – 8pm.