What Are Cochlear Implants?
A cochlear implant is a surgically placed device which can dramatically improve hearing for people with sensorineural hearing loss. A cochlear implant will mimic the function of a healthy cochlea by replacing the damaged sensory hair cells.
How Does a Cochlear Implant work?
The cochlear implant works by sending a signal directly to the hearing nerve.
Surgery and Complications
Cochlear implant surgery accesses the cochlea from behind the external ear. Using a microscope, the surgeon removes adequate bone to see the opening of the cochlea. The cochlear implant device is placed below the skin behind the ear, and the electrode is very carefully inserted into the cochlea.
All surgeries have potential for complications. With cochlear implant surgery there are the usual risks of general anesthesia, bleeding, and infection. There are also risks of device failure, damage to the facial nerve, balance changes, and worse hearing. It is recommended that all patients interested in cochlear implantation discuss these risks with their surgeon, their audiologist, and other patients who have already had the surgery.
The primary benefit of cochlear implantation is significantly improved hearing. Cochlear implants may be a solution if your hearing aids are not helping you understand sounds and speech. If you are straining to hear even when using powerful hearing aids and find that you are unable to understand what is being said, a cochlear implant may be the solution you’ve been waiting for.
Evaluation begins with an audiologist. A basic audiogram as well as advanced cochlear implant candidacy tests can help determine if you qualify for cochlear implantation. Next, an appointment is made with a surgeon who will review the surgical plan and answer any questions. Imaging, either with a CT scan or MRI, is then obtained to ensure the cochlea is surgically accessible. A final appointment is then made with your surgeon to review the details of the surgery, and schedule the surgical date.
After surgery the device is not immediately activated. This is important to allow your body to heal fully. Once the healing is complete, you will meet with your audiologist for the device activation. Your audiologist will then work with you over the course of multiple sessions to get maximum benefit for your hearing.
Available Cochlear Implants
How much do cochlear implants cost?
Unlike hearing aids, cochlear implants may be covered by Medicare, Medicaid, and most private insurance companies.
Call Certified Hearing Aid & Audiology Associates at (859) 344-4440 for more information or to schedule an appointment.