A cochlear implant is a
small electronic device that can help "make" sound if you have severe or total
hearing loss. The implant does the job of the damaged or absent nerve cells
that in a normal ear make it possible to hear. Cochlear implants can be
programmed according to your specific needs and degree of
implants may help people with severe or total hearing loss in both ears who do
not get any benefit from hearing aids. Cochlear implants have been shown to
improve a person's ability to understand speech and speak clearly. Unlike
hearing aids, cochlear implants do not make sounds louder but improve how well
you hear sound.
A cochlear implant
consists of a:
The microphone picks up sound and sends it to the speech
processor, which changes the sound to information the cochlear implant can
understand. The implant then tells the nerves in the ear to send a message to
the brain. The message is understood as sound.
Speech therapy will help you make the most of your cochlear implant. Training
in listening, language, and speech-reading skills (paying attention to people's
gestures, facial expressions, posture, and tone of voice) also help you.
Cochlear implants have a low rate of complications, which may
meningitis occurs more often in
children with cochlear implants than in children the same age who do not have
implants. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention along with the Food and Drug Administration recommend the following:
It is possible that a cochlear implant can be affected by a
magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan. This could
cause the implant to stop working. Before you have an MRI, make sure you tell
your doctor you have a cochlear implant.
April 13, 2011
Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine & Steven T. Kmucha, MD - Otolaryngology
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