Cochlear Implants | Fort Bend County, TX

Hearing loss is not the same for everyone. Some may have mild to moderate hearing loss while some experience severe to profound hearing loss. 

While hearing aids are considered to be the mainstream course of action in managing hearing loss, cochlear implants are considered to be a more intense solution for the types of hearing loss that could not benefit from hearing aids.

Hearing aids can provide much-needed amplification of sounds, but these devices cannot restore normal hearing. 

Cochlear implants may help give back one’s ability to hear and understand speech by stimulating the auditory nerve with electrical impulses.  

What is a cochlear implant?

A cochlear implant is a surgically implanted medical device for a person who is severely hard-of-hearing or deaf. 

It is designed to bypass the non-functioning or damaged parts of the ear and directly stimulate the auditory nerve with electrical signals to allow the brain to perceive sound.

The implant consists of two main components: a surgically implanted electrode array inserted into the cochlea, and an external processor that sits behind the ear. 

The main function of the external processor is to capture sounds from the environment and convert them into digital signals. These digital signals are then transmitted to the internal electrode array through a small magnet and a coil.

The electrode array stimulates the fibers of the auditory nerve which are then transported to the brain and interpreted as sound. 

With practice, an individual with a cochlear implant can recognize and understand speech and other sounds, which can greatly improve quality of life and overall communication abilities.

What happens during a cochlear implant surgery?

During the surgery, one or two small incisions behind the skin of the ear will be made. The surgery may take about an hour or two to perform. 

After the operation, the patient will need to spend an appropriate recovery period before starting therapy. With the therapy, the brain will be taught to interpret sounds in a way that it has never done before.

How does a cochlear implant work?

The first thing you need to know about cochlear implants is that they don’t work like hearing aids and other assistive technologies like auditory brainstem implants or bone-anchored devices. 

Instead of just focusing on amplification, cochlear implants bypass the damaged portions of the ear and stimulate the auditory nerves directly through the microphone, microprocessor, and electrodes. 

During this process, sounds may not be produced in an understandable way at first. However, the brain can be trained to process sounds in this way, making hearing achievable once again.

Common types of hearing implants

  • Cochlear implants (CI)
  • Bone Anchored Hearing Aid (BAHA)
  • Middle ear implants (MEI)
  • Auditory brainstem implants (ABI)

Who can get a cochlear implant?

For people who have severe to profound hearing loss and have not been able to find the solution they are looking for in hearing aids, cochlear implants can be an absolute game-changer.

While the process of acquiring and hearing with a cochlear implant may not be as easy as fitting and wearing hearing aids, the former offer hope to those who want to level up their hearing solutions and live a better quality of life.

Cochlear Implants in Children

Cochlear implants can also be recommended for children who have severe to profound hearing issues at a young age. 

With the help of implants, children with hearing loss can have the opportunity to maximize their speech comprehension and expand their early developmental window. 

When a child hears correctly, the brain can be stimulated to grow and function as it should, aiding in speech and language development.

Cochlear Implants in Older Adults

Losing hearing at an old age is an expected part of life. However, it’s still a scary thought, losing the ability to hear sounds that you used to hear every single day. Fortunately, there are so many hearing solutions available including cochlear implants.

Adults who lose their sense of hearing later in life are known to find it easier to re-learn how to associate the signals picked up by cochlear implants with sounds that they remember. 

This includes recognizing speech without necessarily relying on any visual cues such as lip-reading or sign language.

How does someone receive a cochlear implant?

Receiving or acquiring a cochlear implant is not as easy as purchasing a hearing aid and having it fitted and adjusted by an audiologist. 

The first thing you need to consider about implants is that it comes with surgery; and of course, just like any surgery, they can have certain risks and complications. 

This is why it’s essential to consult with medical professionals if you or your family member is considering getting a cochlear implant. 

Several factors will be mapped out and a thorough discussion with you and a team of medical professionals will have to be arranged. 

Cochlear Implant Eligibility | Fort Bend County, TX

Not everyone can be a qualified candidate for cochlear implant. Below are some of the qualifications for you to be considered a qualified  candidate:

  • You have hearing loss so severe it affects spoken communication
  • You have limited to no benefit from hearing aids as confirmed by specialized hearing tests
  • You have no existing medical conditions or factors that increase the risks and complications associated with cochlear implants

How long does a cochlear implant last?

Another question that pops up during discussions about cochlear implants is their longevity. How long does it last? Does it need to be replaced? 

Since they are surgically implanted, they are meant to last a lifetime. However, there are some cases that were linked to equipment failure which needed surgical replacement.

Are cochlear implants painful?

Generally speaking, cochlear implantation is considered to be a very safe and simple surgical procedure. Just like any operation, pain is expected to be felt around the surgical site, especially a few days after post-op. 

Stiffness of the jaw may also be experienced. However, the recovery period is quite short, and sleeping on the side of the operative ear is considered safe.

Are you ready to hear better?

Fort Bend Hearing provides comprehensive preventative, diagnostic and rehabilitation hearing services for pediatric and adult patients. Contact us today to schedule your appointment.

Cochlear Implant Topics

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Are you ready to hear better?

Fort Bend Hearing provides comprehensive preventative, diagnostic and rehabilitation hearing services for pediatric and adult patients. Contact us today to schedule your appointment.

Cochlear Implant Consultations in Fort Bend County, Texas

Fort Bend Hearing aims to provide world-class hearing healthcare to patients in Fort Bend County, Texas. From conducting hearing tests, providing hearing aid fittings to cochlear implant consultations, we’ve got you covered.

To know more about cochlear implants and related hearing services for adults and children, please give us a call to schedule an appointment. We look forward to seeing you in our clinic!