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Cochlear Implant Surgery- Frequently Asked Questions

Cochlear Implant Surgery 

Also referred to as bionic ear, the cochlear implant is a device that produces a sense of sound electronically. The cochlear implant provides a sense of hearing in patients who are hard of hearing, particularly because of damaged sensory hair cells in the cochlea.

anatomy-of-the-ear

sensoneural-hearing-loss
Hearing Loss

The cochlea is a part of the inner ear that comprises of tiny hair cells. When there is damage to the tiny hair cells in the cochlea, sound cannot reach the auditory nerve. This type of hearing loss is called the sensorineural hearing loss.

The cochlear implants bypass the damaged hair cells and directly stimulate the auditory nerve. The implants allow sufficient hearing and unaided understanding of speech.

No doubt that the quality of sound with cochlear implants is different. It also allows lesser information to be perceived and processed by the brain. Yet, cochlear implants help in hearing and understanding speech and sound to a good extent. This offers great improvement in the quality of life of the patient. 

What are cochlear implants comprised of? How do they work?

The implant has two parts – an external part which is placed behind the ear and an internal part that is surgically placed under the skin.

working-diagram-cochlear-implant
Schematic diagram of Cochlear Implant working


Components of the external part and their function:
cochlear-implant-external-parts

The external part comprises of a microphone, a speech processor, and a transmitter. The microphone picks up the sound and sends them to the speech processor. The speech processor is a small box-like unit that analyzes the sound signals and sends the sound signals to a transmitter on the device worn behind the ear. After this, the transmitter sends the signals to the receiver implanted in the internal part under the skin.

Components of Internal Part and their function:
cochlear-implant-internal-parts

The internal part of the device comprises of a receiver and an array of electrodes. The receiver takes the coded signals from the transmitter and sends them to the electrodes placed in the cochlea. The electrodes directly connect with the auditory nerve and stimulate the auditory nerve.  This produces sound sensations which the brain receives and processes.  

Who is a candidate for cochlear implant surgery?

The candidate for cochlear implant surgery can be a child or adult with:
• Severe to profound sensorineural hearing loss in both ears
• Having found limitations using the hearing aid.
• No medical problems that would contra-indicate the surgery
• Loss of hearing after speech-language development.
• Strong desire to be part of the hearing world and communicate through listening and speaking
• Have realistic expectations for using cochlear implants


What are the steps involved in undergoing a cochlear implant?

The first step is to undergo a thorough evaluation to know if you are a good candidate and you would benefit from the procedure. Important tests run on all candidates are Audio logic testing, medical examination, and psychological examination.  

X-ray, MRI as well as counseling are also done. These tests help in confirming the candidacy of the patient and also motivate him to participate in the process. Once the surgery is decided, it is done either on an out-patient basis or requires an overnight stay in the hospital.

After a few weeks (about 4-6 weeks), when the surgical wounds have completely healed, the implant is activated. Some additional visits for activating and programming of electrodes may be required for the final programming with speech processor. Also, a few visits to the speech therapist are required to get accustomed to the new sounds.

What are the benefits and risks associated with the surgery?

The cochlear implants are found to be advantageous in individuals who have acquired deafness. These individuals find a substantial improvement in their daily lives. The device helps in providing them with more information, safety, better orientation, mobility, better communication within their environment thereby involving them better in the community. Thus it enhances self-confidence of the individual also.

There are some associated risks involved which are apparently found with any other surgical procedure. Rarely could be a damage to the facial nerve during the operation but with skilled surgeons, it is infrequent to expect any injury.

What is the Cochlear Implant surgery success rate?

The maximum success rate of cochlear implants is in children between 0-3 years of age. The children of this age get anywhere between 90-95% hearing and language improvement. About 80-90% of the children develop speech and hearing as good as children with normal hearing.

How is the recovery like and what is post-op rehabilitation after the operation?

The post-op rehabilitation is a crucial period and involves extensive rehabilitation. During this period a holistic rehab program is given to the patient which involves a team of experts as well as the patient and his family.
The core team comprises of parents (if the patient is a child), the patient, the audiologist and speech therapist. They work together to rehabilitate hearing to the patient.

Where can one find a high-quality cochlear implant in India?

Cochlear implants are available at best ENT hospitals and clinics in India. The cochlear implantation involves multi-disciplinary approach and involves expert ENT surgeons, neuropsychologist, audiologist, pediatrician and speech therapist who work in a team to improve the hearing of the patient.

How much does cochlear implant surgery cost in India?

The approximate cost of cochlear implants is inclusive of pre-surgery tests and counseling, the implantation of the device or the surgery and post-op rehabilitation. 

The total cost of the cochlear implant surgery varies depending upon the type and model of implant, surgeon, hospital, the category of the room and the city where you choose to get the procedure done. The total cost of cochlear implant surgery in India ranges anywhere from US $ 14,000 to 20,000 depending on various factors.

How can one avail affordable and cheap cochlear implant surgery in India?

To get cochlear implant surgery at affordable prices in India, one should approach a reputed medical tourism company. The medical tourism companies have an association with best hospitals and surgeons in India and offer cochlear implantation packages at negotiated prices.

IndiCure is the largest and most trusted medical tourism company offering healthcare services for high-quality cochlear implant surgery in India at affordable prices.

For more information about cochlear implants surgery in India, write to info@indicure.com or call +91-932-003-6777 (India)/ +1-877-270-2448 (US Toll-free) or talk to us at Skype @ Indicure