A cochlear implant (auditory implant) is a miniature device equipped with fine electronics and designed to improve sound perception. It is used for adults and children suffering from hearing impairment of varying severity. Appointed in cases where the wearing of hearing aids is not able to solve the problem.
Why don’t hearing aids help in all cases? In most situations, they are effective, but if the hair cells of the cochlea are affected, the sound signals amplified by them simply cannot be transmitted to the corresponding brain centers.
Indications for wearing cochlear implants
These devices are prescribed to patients if:
- An audiological test has shown that they recognize less than 50% of the transmitted sounds.
- When examining with hearing aids, the recognition of sounds is not more than 60%
- Strong bilateral hearing impairment diagnosed.
- Hearing aids do not give the desired efficiency
- In most cases, bilateral implantation is recommended – when implants are placed in both ears.
It is shown with bilateral hearing loss and allows you to comfortably perceive the acoustic waves, to determine their localization.
The principle of functioning of cochlear implants
When the hair cells in the inner ear die off, transmission of sound information to the brain centers is difficult. This problem is successfully solved by a cochlear implant (auditory implant). It provides a comfortable perception by transmitting impulses to the auditory nerve.
The algorithm in this case is as follows:
- Behind the ear is a sound processor that captures sound information and transforms it into digital.
- It is compact and is powered by batteries, which provide energy to the entire system.
- Digital data from the processor is transferred to a coil located in the implant.
- The implant transforms the received information into electrical signals and sends them to the cochlea of the inner ear, where the electrodes are located.
- Electrodes activate the auditory nerve, causing it to send impulses to the brain centers.
Benefits of wearing a cochlear implant
This system is really capable of making life easier for people with severe hearing impairments. Patients who have tested it, notice a number of positive factors:
- Improving sound perception – if, when wearing hearing aids, people with pathologies of the inner ear hear 10% more than without them, then in the case of implants this figure rises to 80%.
- Ease of group communication (at meetings, parties, in crowded places).
- Extraction of a useful signal from noise.
- The ability to hear sounds, previously unknown, before wearing implants, thus opening new facets of this world.
- Improved orientation in space – thanks to the ability to hear disturbing signals (for example, from the approaching transport), life becomes safer.
- Improving the comfort of telephone conversations.
- The opportunity to enjoy your favorite music.
- The dependence of the use of cochlear implants on various factors.
You should not expect that two different people installed cochlear implants will help to the same extent. This is influenced by many nuances:
- Longevity with hearing impairment before implant placement
- The state of the cochlea of the inner ear
- Degree of hearing impairment
- The presence of concomitant diseases
- System use activity.
Cochlear implants of a new generation
Cochlear implantation (CI) is a modern high-tech way to solve the problems of hearing impairments in people of any age. Suitable for those cases where the damage to the auditory system is deep, and hearing aids do not provide adequate efficiency.
Today, this area is developing rapidly, so new models of implants are constantly emerging, surpassing their predecessors.
The patient’s perception after implantation is influenced not only by the quality of the device itself, but also by the professionalism of the doctors who performed the implantation operation. Also, after surgery, a person will have to undergo rehabilitation, during which specialists will help him to adapt to the implant, complement it with new useful functions.
Top questions for people about to install a cochlear implant:
- “How well will I hear with this device?”
- “Convenient or sound processor settings, how do I master them?”
- “Is the implant of my chosen brand reliable?”
- “How inconspicuous is this system?”
Especially they are set by people who are to rehabilitate their child with a diagnosis of hearing loss. In this case, any trifle is important, and experts should provide comprehensive advice on all issues.