The Implant Journey
Audiologists & Clinics
Audiological evaluation is done to check whether patients meet the candidacy criteria for a cochlear implant. These include:
Hearing tests including an audiogram, BERA/ASSR etc.
Hearing aid trial with speech therapy to evaluate potential benefits if any at all
Once the audiological evalutation meets the cadidacy criteria for cochlear implants, ENT surgeons (trained cochlear implant surgeons) evaluate whether a cochlear implant surgery can be performed and if it will benefit candidates by doing the following tests:
Examining external, middle & inner ear to detect if there is an infection or abnormality
During the Surgery
Surgery Time: 1.5-2hrs
Cochlear implant surgery is a safe and routine medical procedure that typically takes 1-3 hours to complete - from start to finish. The surgery involves making a small incision behind the ear, where the surgeon will insert the electrodes inside the cochlea and place the receiver in the temporal bone behind the ear. After the procedure, patients will need to stay at the hospital for a short period of time under the care of medical professionals.
The patient is given instructions on post-surgery care for the incision. There is some time needed for the incision to heal before patients get back to their normal routine. This period can vary for each patient and only an expert can guide a patient as to when stitches can be removed. Professionals provide guidance toward when the patient can wash their ear and engage themselves in other activities.
It is at this time that a patient hears for the first time and learns the basics of using and carrying the processor. Mapping will be taken place over several months. It is important to know that learning to use a cochlear implant is a gradual process.
Even though a cochlear implant provides the access to sound, understanding can take more than just hearing. Habilitation for patients who have never heard before and rehabilitation for patients who are learning to hear again are needed to allow optimal gains for all patients. Speech language pathologists and educators of the deaf guide parents and patients throughout this process.