The world sees a good listener as a sensible person, as they can understand and empathize with others. Such people are able to communicate well with others. They can form meaningful relationships, fulfill their responsibilities well and thus live a more complete life. But what about those who find it hard to hear clearly? The A deaf face significant problems as they are often not given due respect in society and misse golden opportunities in life. In many cases, hearing aids can help the hearing impaired listen well. One such aid is called cochlear implant, which is useful for those who are deaf because of inner-ear damage.
Cochlear implant stimulates the auditory nerve to provide the sensation of the sound and restore hearing to a certain level. The implant can also help the hearing impaired secure a better future. They can now attend personal development programs where they have to listen such as audio books and courses. This will help them evolve as a person and succeed in whatever field they choose.
The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) supports research to increase the benefits of cochlear implants. Research is being conducted to see if using a shorter electrode array, inserted into a part of the cochlea, for instance, can help people whose hearing loss is restricted to the higher frequencies while preserving their hearing of lower frequencies. Research is also being done to look at the potential benefits of pairing a cochlear implant in one ear with either another cochlear implant or a hearing aid in the other ear.
What is cochlear implant
Let us now see what exactly is a cochlear implant and the various matters related to it.
Cochlear implant is a small, complex electronic device that can help to provide a sense of sound to a hearing impaired.
One part of the device is placed externally behind the ear and a second part is put under the skin.
The device is made of: A microphone to pick up sound from the surrounding; A speech processor to select and arrange sounds picked up by the microphone; A transmitter and receiver/stimulator to receive signals from the speech processor and turn them into electric impulses; An electrode array, which is a group of electrodes that gathers the impulses from the stimulator and sends them to various parts of the auditory nerve.
An implant does not restore normal hearing. But, it can give a hearing impaired a useful representation of sounds in the environment. It can also help him or her understand speech.
A cochlear implant is not like other hearing aids. It bypasses damaged parts of the ear and directly stimulates the auditory nerve. The implant creates signals that the auditory nerve transmits to the brain . The nerve identifies the signals as sound. It takes time to learn or relearn how to hear with a cochlear implant because it differs from regular hearing. Many people can notice warning signals, interpret other noises in the area, and hear conversation in person or over the phone thanks to it.
Who can get cochlear implants?
People who are deaf or severely hearing impaired can get cochlear implants.
The FDA first granted its approval to the device during the 1980s to treat hearing loss in adults. The FDA has approved it, since 2000, for use in eligible children starting when they are 1-year-old,. For young kids who are deaf, using a cochlear implant exposes them to sounds at a critical juncture in their development of speech and language skills. According to research, a young child who has a cochlear implant followed by intense therapy before becoming 18 months old, can better hear, understand sound and music, and communicate than those children who receive implants later in life.
Cochlear implants are also helpful for some people who have lost all or most of their hearing later in life.
A surgical procedure and extensive training to learn or relearn how to hear are both required in the use of cochlear implants. A person who opts for a cochlear implant should first consult medical experts, especially an experienced cochlear implant surgeon. Books and devices related to cochlear implant are also available on Amazon. These books can help the deaf gain better knowledge and decide before they go for the implant.
The cost of cochlear implant in India
The cost of cochlear implant surgery is determined by several factors, including the type of implant, the surgeon’s experience, whether it is a government or private hospital, and the facilities offered. In India, the cost of cochlear implant surgery ranges between US$ 6000-13000.