Cochlear implants represent a breakthrough in the field of hearing rehabilitation for people with hearing impairments who cannot be helped by regular hearing aids
What is a Cochlear Implant?
Cochlear implants represent a breakthrough in the field of hearing rehabilitation for people with hearing impairments who cannot be helped by regular hearing aids. A cochlear implant is a sophisticated hearing device that receives sounds from the environment and converts them into electrical impulses that stimulate the fibers of the acoustic nerve. This stimulus supplies acoustic information essential for the recognition of environmental and speech sounds, thereby improving the ability of those with hearing impairments to communicate. During the operation, an electronic device that transfers electrical stimuli directly to the fibers of the acoustic nerve, in order to allow the patient to hear, is implanted into the inner ear of the patient.
What are the Components of a Cochlear Implant?
The cochlear implant system consists of interior and exterior components that work together to allow the user to perceive sound. The exterior components include a processor that receives sounds detected by a microphone, processes them into digital signals and then transmits them to the internal implanted parts that include an integrated processor that sends the signals through electrodes to the fibers of the acoustic nerve. The interior and exterior components are aligned over each other through the skin by magnets located on both sides.
What is the Difference Between a Cochlear Implant and Alternative Hearing Aids?
People with hearing impairments tend to be divided into two groups: conductive hearing loss, which includes trauma to the outer and middle ear, and sensorineural hearing loss , which is caused by damage to the inner ear. The majority of conductive hearing impairment sufferers can be treated with surgery and regular hearing aids. Cochlear implant surgery is intended for sufferers of sensorineural impairment, with irreparable damage that cannot be treated with regular hearing aids.
Does a Cochlear Implant Restore Hearing Loss?
The effectiveness of cochlear implant surgery differs from patient to patient depending on language and cognitive skills and the rehabilitation process itself. The results of the surgery are not immediately apparent and require the full cooperation of the patients and their commitment to the rehabilitation program prepared for them. That being said, the majority of the implant recipients successfully communicate with their surroundings through speech and hearing and the majority of children who receive these implants are educated in mainstream settings and continue to thrive in their development of hearing and spoken skills. Amongst the adults with existing language skills, a significant improvement in hearing ability has been recorded and they benefited at a faster rate from the utilization process of the cochlear implants.
Advantages of Cochlear Implants
- A cochlear implant is defined in many cases as a "medical miracle" because it enables individuals with severe to profound hearing loss to hear
- Cochlear implant surgery changes the lives of children born deaf, providing them with the opportunity to "learn" how to hear and participate actively in mainstream education.
- The implant enables patients to be aware of background noises, improves speech recognition and speech comprehension and in addition, speech execution and lip reading are enhanced.
- The implant is not significantly larger than other hearing aids and can be concealed under the hair.
- Surgery is considered to have a high success rate amongst people with hearing impairment.
What Happens after Surgery?
The success of surgery is highly dependent on the process that follows. The patient enters an intensive program for hearing rehabilitation, including speech therapy sessions and commits to the execution of assignments and the necessary follow-up. Perseverance, full cooperation with the doctors and therapists and motivation for success are the key milestones on the road to treatment success, propelling the patient towards the ultimate goal of the treatment: hearing!
About Assaf Harofeh Medical Center
Assaf Harofeh Medical Center is the third largest government hospital in Israel. It is situated in the center of Israel, 15 minutes from Tel Aviv and 5 minutes from the Ben Gurion International Airport. The outpatient clinics, emergency room, inpatient departments and maternity wards are supported by dozens of departments, medical institutes, clinics and laboratories including all the sub-specialties. The hospital prides itself on its commitment to provide the best personal care, and diagnosis and medical treatment of the highest possible standards. The staff that is dedicated to this commitment includes 3,400 doctors, researchers, accompanying medical professionals, nursing staff and management, working together to provide professional and courteous service to all the patients from all over the world who arrive at the medical center.
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