A cochlear implant is a surgically-implanted electronic device. It helps provide hearing to people who have a certain type of hearing loss. This type of hearing loss is usually caused by damage or a defect in the inner ear. The implants can directly stimulate the auditory nerve to send information to the brain.
Cochlear implants have three parts:
Cochlear implants provide a heightened sense of sound for adults and children with profound hearing loss. They are designed for people whose hearing does not improve with surgical correction or the use of a hearing aid. Cochlear implants will not restore or create normal hearing.
Complications are rare, but no procedure is completely free of risk. If you are planning to have an implant, your doctor will review a list of possible complications, which may include:
Some factors that may increase the risk of complications include:
Your doctor will likely do some or all of the following:
Leading up to your procedure:
General anesthesia is used for this procedure. You will be asleep.
There are two parts to the procedure:
About 1½-2 hours for adults, and up to five hours for children
Anesthesia prevents pain during the procedure. You will have some pain after. Your doctor can give you medicine to help manage any pain.
The length of stay is based on individual circumstances. Speak to your doctor about how long your stay may be.
After your procedure, be sure to follow your doctor's instructions.
You will have frequent follow-up visits for the following:
In addition, you will have cochlear implant training. This will help improve your ability to:
After you leave the hospital, contact your doctor if any of the following occurs:
In case of an emergency, CALL 911.
American Academy of Audiology
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders
About Kids Health
Cochlear Implant Awareness Foundation
Cochlear implants. American Speech-Language-Hearing Association website. Available at: http://www.asha.org/public/hearing/treatment/cochlear_implant.htm. Accessed January 13, 2010.
Cochlear implants. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders website. Available at: http://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/hearing/coch.asp. Updated August 2009. Accessed January 13, 2010.
Cochlear implants. US Food and Drug Administration website. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/MedicalDevices/ProductsandMedicalProcedures/ImplantsandProsthetics/CochlearImplants/default.htm. Updated April 2009. Accessed January 13, 2010.
Last reviewed November 2009 by Elie Edmond Rebiez, MD, FACS
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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