Choosing a cochlear implant involves a bit of research and may raise some questions. Here's a list of the questions and answers most commonly asked by cochlear implant candidates.
What is a cochlear implant? A cochlear implant is an electronic device which can enhance hearing and speech abilities for individuals with severe to profound hearing loss. A cochlear implant system comes in two parts; the first part is the external speech processor and the second is the internal implant which is placed under the skin.
What should I consider when choosing my cochlear implant? When considering which cochlear implant manufacturer best meets your needs, you may want to compare product features, design, ease of use, performance and, most importantly, long term reliability of the device. Reputable implant manufacturers produce reports on the results of their devices. Be sure to ask your Cochlear Implant Team for copies of such reports.
How will I hear after I have my cochlear implant? Everyone’s initial experience with their cochlear implant is unique. However, most implant users say that the sound changes with time and gets better every day. If you’ve previously used a hearing aid you’ll notice a difference in sound with your new implant. You may notice a more ‘tinny’ sound quality at the beginning, as you’ll be able to hear high-pitched sounds that you might not have heard for a long time.
Children who’ve had little or no hearing prior to their cochlear implant appear to get used to the sound very quickly.
If you are uncomfortable with the sounds you experience after switch-on, work with your Cochlear Implant Team until the sound is improved.
How long do the batteries in the processors last? Batteries for the behind-the-ear model of speech processor typically last several days, whilst the rechargeable batteries used in the bodyworn processor normally last for one day.
Generally if you are in noisy environments your speech processor works harder and therefore requires more battery power.
When will I have surgery and what can I expect? Your operation will be arranged after your consulting clinic has completed all your evaluations. Ask your Cochlear Implant Team for more information about your surgery.
Cochlear implant surgery normally takes 1-3 hours. Typically, you would go home later the same day or early the following morning. Most people return to normal activities within a few days or a week. As with any operation there may be an element of discomfort. Most discomfort or pain after the operation can be managed with normal pain-killers.
The external processor is typically activated (switched on) within 4-6 weeks after surgery.
Who invented cochlear implants? Professor Graeme Clark of the University of Melbourne was the creator and developer of the world’s first multi-channel implant and is considered by many to be the father of the cochlear implant. Professor Clark continues to work closely with Cochlear to bring the gift of hearing to every child and adult who can benefit.