Cochlear Implant QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

The following  Cochlear Implant questions are asked by real people like you. The answers are provided by board-certified doctors or qualified medical providers who meet our exacting standards.

Iran is one of 5 top countries in cochlear implants. At the moment, there are 11 cochlear implant clinics active in Iran performing cochlear implant surgery. 4 out of 11 cochlear implant clinics are based in Tehran.

KIATREAT is an online health tourism facilitator offering you the best services and treatment for cochlear implants. Our team supports the patients with speech therapy sessions following cochlear implant surgery. Iran is very popular in cochlear implants because of well-experienced surgeons and experts and modern and equipped clinics.

Cochlear Implant is an electronic device to improve hearing ability who is profoundly deaf or severely hard-of-hearing. This device electrically stimulates the auditory nerve (nerve of hearing) which is called the cochlear nerve. A cochlear implant is more practical and the best option when hearing aids can’t provide the clarity of sound needed to understand speech and spoken language. In fact, a hearing aid doesn’t improve speech understanding but makes sounds louder.

A cochlear implant has two parts including internal and external parts. The external part consists of a microphone that sits behind the ear and picks up the sounds from the environment. Then a speech processor selects and arranges the picked-up sounds. A transmitter and receiver receive the signals from the speech processor, convert them into electric impulses, and transmit them to the internal part of the implant. The internal part is inserted behind the ear under the skin during surgery. A thin wire and small electrodes lead to the cochlear, which is part of the inner ear. The signals will be sent to the cochlear nerve through this wire, which sends sound information to the brain to produce a hearing sensation.

Before undergoing cochlear implant surgery, you should discus with your surgeon surgery and find out if this surgery is appropriate for you or not. Your surgeon will evaluate your hearing ability through the following steps before advising you to undergo cochlear implant surgery:

    • Tests of hearing, speech, and sometimes balance
    • Physical examination to assess the health of the inner ear
    • CT or MRI imaging of the skull to assess the condition of the cochlea and structure of the inner ear.
    • Sometimes, psychological testing to determine the ability to learn to use cochlear implants.

A cochlear implant is a surgical method performed in a clinic or hospital. The length of the surgery is about 2 to 4 hours. Cochlear implant surgery performs under general anesthesia.

The surgeon makes an incision behind the ear to open the mastoid bone. Then the implant electrodes will be inserted into the cochlear nerve and then an electronic device called the receiver will be placed under the skin behind the ear.

Cochlear implants may be placed in one ear (unilateral) or both ears (bilateral). It is recommended to do bilateral cochlear implants instead of unilateral particularly for infants and children who are learning to speak and process language.

After the surgery, the cochlear implant must be activated by an audiologist as follows:

    • Adjust the sound processor to fit you or your child
    • Check the components of the cochlear implant to make sure they work
    • Determine what sounds you or your child hears
    • Give you information on the proper care and use of the device
    • Set the device so that you can hear to the best of your ability

You will be given some instructions on how to care for the incisions when you are released from the hospital. You may experience pain, fever, or drainage after the surgery for a few days which is normal. If these complications last more or increase, you should report to the hospital or surgeon immediately. You can wash your ear as normal 2 days after the surgery. you should be careful about the incisions when you are changing your clothes. Your follow-up appointment will be arranged for 1 week after your surgery.

Cochlear implant can be performed for adults, children, and babies. If you are experiencing hearing loss and continue to rely heavily on lip reading, you may need to choose cochlear implant. Specifically, the individuals who have one of the following problems, are considered as the best candidate for cochlear implant.

    • experiencing hearing loss and are not helped by hearing aids
    • Have hearing in both ears but with poor clarity
    • Miss half or more of spoken words, without lip reading, even when wearing hearing aids
    • Rely heavily on lip reading, despite wearing hearing aids

There is no age limitation for cochlear implant surgery. Since 2000, cochlear implants have been approved by FDA for use in eligible children beginning at 12 months of age. For the first time, The FDA approved cochlear implants to treat hearing loss in adults in the mid-1980s.

Like any other surgery, there are some possible risks and complications as below:

    • Bleeding
    • Swelling
    • Infection in the area of the implant
    • Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
    • Dizziness or vertigo
    • Numbness around the ear
    • Changes in taste
    • Dry mouth
    • Injury to the facial nerve, which can cause movement problems in the face
    • Leakage of spinal fluid
    • Infection of the membrane that covers the brain (meningitis)
    • Risks of general anesthesia
    • Need to have the implant removed because of an infection

Human is a social creature who needs to talk and without hearing, it is impossible to connect with others. So, it is very important to fix your serious hearing problem which it can change your life. However, the results are not the same for everyone.  But you can still benefit from cochlear implant:

    • be able to hear speech at a normal level.
    • be able to understand speech without lip-reading.
    • easier to talk on the phone and hear the TV.
    • be able to hear the music better than before.
    • pick up on different types of sounds, including soft, medium, and loud ones.
    • control your own voice so that it’s easier for others to understand you.

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