Dr. Venkata Krishna Sandeep

Consultant - ENT Head & Neck Surgery and Cochlear Implant Surgeon

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Dr. Venkata Krishna Sandeep

Consultant - ENT Head & Neck Surgery and Cochlear Implant Surgeon

Manipal Hospitals, Vijayawada

Everything You Need To Know About Cochlear implantation

Posted On: Apr 25, 2023

blogs read 4 Min Read

ENT Hospital in Vijayawada

Cochlear implantation is implantation done using an electronic device which helps in improving hearing efficiency. It is carried out among individuals who are suffering from severe hearing loss due to inner ear damage and those who are not capable of hearing well even using hearing aids. A cochlear implant bypasses damaged areas of the ear to send sound impulses to the hearing (auditory) nerve, in contrast to hearing aids, which amplify sound. In the last two decades, there has been a sharp increase in the number of cochlear implants carried out by ENT specialist in Vijayawada.

Working on Cochlear Implants

The hearing (auditory) nerve receives sound signals from a cochlear implant instead of hearing aids, which enhance the sound. A behind-the-ear sound processor is used with cochlear implants. The receiver is implanted behind the ear and receives sound signals from the processor by sending them to the receiver. The impulses are sent from the receiver to electrodes inserted in the inner ear's snail-shaped structure (cochlea). The auditory nerve is stimulated by the signals, which subsequently send the signals to the brain. Although the noises produced by those impulses are not exactly like those heard naturally, the brain interprets them as sounds.

Why is Cochlear Implantation (ENT) Carried Out?

When hearing aids are no longer helpful for someone with severe hearing loss, cochlear implants can help them hear better. Their quality of life and ability to communicate can be enhanced through cochlear implants.

Both ears or one ear (unilateral) can receive cochlear implants (bilateral). Adults frequently start off with one hearing aid and one cochlear implant. As the hearing loss in the hearing aid ear worsens, adults could eventually progress to two cochlear implants. In newborns and young children who are developing language skills and who have bilateral severe hearing loss, cochlear implants are frequently implanted in both ears at the same time.

Individuals who have cochlear implants have shown effective results with improvement in the:

  • The capability of hearing speech without relying on visual signals such as lip-reading.

  • Understanding common environmental noise

  • Being able to hear in a noisy setting.

  • The capability to locate the source of sound.

  • The ability to hear music, conversations, and television programming.

  • Tinnitus symptoms in the implanted ear, such as ringing or buzzing.

Who udergoes Cochlear Implantation?

Cochlear implants can be fitted for deaf and profoundly hard-of-hearing children and adults. It has been initially used to treat hearing loss among adults. It can also help some adults who, later in life, have lost all or most of their hearing.

Although the FDA has approved cochlear implants for children as young as 12 months, babies as young as 6 months have been observed to get these devices safely. Patients who can hear better at lower tones can also benefit from implants, according to research. There is no maximum age; people as elderly as 90 have recently undergone successful cochlear implant surgery.

Preparation for Cochlear Implantation

At a leading ENT Hospital in Vijayawada, general anaesthesia is used while undergoing cochlear implants. It reveals that the person will have a sleep-like condition during the implantation process. Some of the instructions before surgery include:

  • Stop taking some specific drugs or supplements for some period of time.

  • One should avoid eating or drinking for a certain time period.

Also, some more instructions are given to the patients with cochlear implants by the surgeons to help them prepare for the surgery.

Related risks and complications:

Cochlear implantation is a painless and safe process. In rare cases, some risks may occur, such as:

  • Loss of residual hearing.

  • Membrane inflammation covers the brain region and spinal cord.

  • Device failure

The following can be some of the complications of cochlear implants:

  • Bleeding

  • Facial paralysis

  • Infection at the surgery site

  • Device infection

  • Balance problems

  • Dizziness

  • Taste-related problems

  • New or worsened ear noise

  • Spinal fluid leakage

Expected Outcome during Cochlear Implantation

General anaesthesia can be used during cochlear implant surgery in a hospital or clinic environment. The treatment could take up to four hours to finish. The following outcomes can be expected during the surgery by the surgeons:

  • Making an incision behind the ear for the opening of the mastoid bone.

  • Identifying the facial nerves and chords tympanic nerve makes an opening between them to reveal the cochlea.

  • Opening the cochlea

  • Insertion of implant electrodes into the cochlea.

  • A receiver should be placed behind the ear and fixed to the skull.

  • Closing of incisions

  • Moving the patient to a recovery room for close monitoring.

Recovery from Cochlear Implantation

The patient may go back to their home after one or two days of the surgery. After the discharge, the doctor encourages to:

  • Keeping the bandage for some time.

  • Scheduling an appointment for removing the stitches may be done after one week of implantation.

  • Following the suggestions on taking care of the stitches, washing the head, showering, and nutrition.

  • Scheduling follow-up appointments for activating implants may be done after 3-6 weeks after the surgery.

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