Cochlear Implant in Iran is routinely done for those who have become deaf or have severe hearing loss due to various reasons. Cochlear Implants transform speech and other sounds into electrical energy that is used to stimulate hearing nerves in the inner ear.
A cochlear implant in Iran does not cure deafness or hearing impairment, but is a prosthetic substitute which directly stimulates the cochlea.
Unlike hearing aids — which amplify sound — a cochlear implant bypasses damaged portions of the ear to deliver sound signals to the auditory (hearing) nerve.
It takes time and training to learn to interpret the signals received from a cochlear implant. Within a year of use, most people with cochlear implants make considerable gains in understanding speech.
How does a cochlear implant work?
A cochlear implant is a small, complex electronic device that can help to provide a sense of sound to a person who is profoundly deaf or severely hard-of-hearing. The implant consists of an external portion that sits behind the ear and a second portion that is surgically placed under the skin. An implant has the following parts:
. A microphone, which picks up sound from the environment.
. A speech processor, which selects and arranges sounds picked up by the microphone.
. A transmitter and receiver/stimulator, which receive signals from the speech processor and convert them into electric impulses.
. An electrode array, which is a group of electrodes that collects the impulses from the stimulator and sends them to different regions of the auditory nerve.
An implant does not restore normal hearing. Instead, it can give a deaf person a useful representation of sounds in the environment and help him or her to understand speech. Although sound quality from a cochlear implant is different from that in normal hearing, the cochlear implant lets someone sense sound that he or she couldn't hear otherwise. And regular improvements to the way the implants work are helping to make the sound even more natural. Most infants, even if they never heard before, will be able to make sense of these sounds and develop speech and language.
Cochlear implants can improve communication and quality of life for people with severe hearing loss who receive little benefit from hearing aids. Increasingly, cochlear implants in both ears (bilateral) are accepted as standard care for the treatment of severe hearing loss — particularly for infants and children who are learning to speak and to process language.
Adults and children who lost hearing after learning to speak can also benefit from cochlear implants. People who have cochlear implants report improved:
. Ability to hear speech without needing visual cues such as reading lips
. Recognition of normal, everyday environmental sounds
. Ability to listen in a noisy environment
. Ability to find where sounds are coming from
. Ability to hear television programs and telephone conversations
The following are general guidelines; candidacy also depends on many other factors.
Children with hearing loss as young as 12 months old may be eligible for a cochlear implant. Experts recommend implantation as early as possible to expose children to sounds during the critical period of language acquisition. After implantation, they must undergo intense speech and language therapy in order to achieve the best possible outcome from the device.
Children are considered viable candidates when they:
. Have profound hearing loss in both ears.
. Get little or no benefit through the use of hearing aids.
. Are healthy and any medical conditions would not compromise surgery.
. Understand (when able), along with their parents, their role in the successful use of cochlear implants.
. Have support from an educational program that will emphasize the development of auditory skills.
Adults may qualify for cochlear implantation regardless of whether they lost their hearing before or after learning language. Those adults who developed language before losing their hearing (postlingually deafened) typically have greater success with cochlear implants than those who had not developed language before losing their hearing (prelingually deafened). Adult candidates are generally eligible for an implant if they:
. Have severe or profound hearing loss in both ears.
. Get little or no benefit from hearing aids.
. Have no medical problems that could put them at risk during surgery.
. Have a strong desire to be part of the hearing world and communicate through listening, speaking and speechreading.
. High motivation to participate in rehabilitation sessions and to be part of the hearing world.
Cochlear implantation is done under general anesthesia, which means you or your child will be asleep during the procedure. You or your child might need to:
. Temporarily stop taking certain medications or supplements
. Avoid eating or drinking for a certain amount of time
Your doctor will give you specific instructions to help you prepare.
Before the procedure
You or your child will need a thorough medical evaluation to determine if cochlear implants are a good option. The evaluation is likely to include:
. 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 ability to learn to use cochlear implants.
How cochlear implants work
The surgeon will make an incision behind the ear, and form a slight depression in the portion of skull bone (mastoid) where the internal device rests.
The surgeon will then create a small hole in the cochlea and thread the electrode array of the internal device through this hole. The incision is stitched closed so that the internal device is under the skin.
You or your child might experience:
. Pressure or discomfort over the implanted ear or ears
. Dizziness or nausea
Most people feel well enough to return home the day of surgery or the day afterward. You will need to return to the doctor in about a week to have stitches removed.
The cochlear implants won't be turned on (activated) until two to six weeks after surgery — to give the surgery site time to heal.
What are the advantages of a cochlear implant?
It can be life-changing if you have a serious hearing problem. But the results aren't the same for everyone. Some people benefit more than others.
Some of the pros are as follows:
. You may be able to hear speech at a nearly normal level.
. You may be able to understand speech without lip reading.
. It’s easier to talk on the phone and hear the TV.
. You may be able to hear music better than before.
. You can pick up on different types of sounds, including soft, medium, and loud ones.
. You can better control your own voice so that it’s easier for others to understand you.
Cochlear implant surgery is very safe, but any operation comes with risks. Problems can include bleeding, infections, and side effects from the medicine that sends you to sleep during the procedure. Other possible complications include:
. Injury to the facial nerve
. Dizziness or tinnitus (Ringing in your ears)
. Leaks of the fluid around the brain
. Changes in taste
. Loss of residual hearing. Implantation of the device might damage any remaining ability to hear in that ear.
. Inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord (meningitis) following cochlear-implant surgery in children. Vaccinations to prevent meningitis are generally given before implantation.
. Nerve damage that causes weakness or paralysis in your face
The device doesn’t work or gets infected, which may mean you’ll have to remove and replace the implant.
Meningitis, an infection of the membranes around the brain. It’s a rare but serious complication. Children and people with abnormally formed inner ears seem to be at higher risk. The FDA and CDC recommend vaccines for anyone who gets a cochlear implant to lower their risk for the disease.
If you have some hearing left, sound may seem "mechanical" or "synthetic," although most people no longer notice this after several months.
If you need an MRI, you may first need a simple procedure to briefly take out the magnet in the cochlear implant. But more medical facilities can do these imaging tests without removing the magnet. There’s also a type of cochlear implant that has a magnet you don't need to take out in order to have an MRI.
Some parts of the device can get damaged if they get wet. You need to take off the speech processor before you bathe, shower, or swim. You also can cover that part with a waterproof case or choose a waterproof cochlear implant processor.
Rarely, the implant may stop working, and you’d need surgery to fix the problem.
How much does a Cochlear implant cost?
Cochlear implants are more expensive than hearing aids. The average cost of cochlear implants can range from $30,000 to $50,000 in the world. But a Cochlear implant cost in Iran starts from $3800.