Cochlear Implants

There are 5 special senses that a human body possesses which include hearing, taste, vision, touch and smell. Amongst these hearing is the only sense which even if absent since birth or lost due to any reason, can now be reinstated by surgery.
A Cochlear Implant (CI) is a surgically implanted electronic device that provides a sense of sound to a person who is profoundly deaf. Cochlear implants are often called bionic ears.

Cochlear Implants may be considered in patients who present with profound sensorineuralhearing loss. Usually they are advised to undergo hearing aid trial with regular speech therapy. Only in those patients who do not benefit with hearing aids is cochlear implant considered.
Cochlear Implants may be considered in all patients above 12months of age. No upper limit of age. In children with deafness since birth, good results are seen if surgery is done below 5years of age and optimal results are seen if implantation is done within first 10years of age though the age group can vary
Bilateral profound sensorineural hearing loss can be due to damage to cochlea or inner hair cells in cochlea. Many a times the cochlear nerve is normal. In such patients the cochlear implant is inserted in the cochlea which directly stimulates the cochlear nerve.

Unlike hearing aids which merely amplify the sound, cochlear implants simulates the natural way of hearing.
Newer devices and processing-strategies allow recipients to hear better in noise, enjoy music, and even use their implant processors while swimming. Implants make speech discrimination easier. Patients have better communication skills and educational quality, better professional opportunities like any other normal person.

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