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Are There Risks to Cochlear Implant Surgery?

Updated: Jul 29, 2023

With the assistance of a cochlear implant, a critically hearing-impaired person experiences immense relief in their speech and language understanding. With the help of this hearing impairment, a person undergoing deafness for a prolonged period experiences improvement in their communication and social skills and self-confidence. Though the sound derived from the implant might feel different from the natural sound, this device provides the facility to communicate orally in person and over the phone thoroughly.

The sad part is that 1 in 1000 children is born with critical to severe to complete sensorineural hearing loss. Hearing loss of that magnitude, when it happens so early in life, tends to have a significant jeopardising effect on speech and language development. Since a child gains so much knowledge about their world by listening, the earlier they experience cochlear implant, the better their communication will be. Currently, quite a number of people show interest in conducting an implant, but due to scarcity of knowledge about its process and post-process, they drop the plan.

Cochlear Implant Surgery
Cochlear Implant Surgery

How Risky Is a Cochlear Implant Surgery?

To begin with, cochlear implant surgery holds a high level of success rate and is hardly risky. But, as it is already known, with any sort of surgery, there is always a possibility of risk. The insertion of a cochlear implant is disastrous for any residual hearing in the operated ear. And this is something one cannot turn back. Let us get an in-depth list of risks involved in a cochlear implant.

General Anaesthetic Risks

To begin with, general anaesthesia involves drug-induced sleep. The drugs comprise anaesthetic gases and injected drugs concerning people differently. For most people, the risk of general anaesthesia is relatively low. Although, for quite some people undergoing specific medical conditions, this is riskier.

Cochlear Implant Process Risks

  1. Possible Impairment in the Facial Nerve: This nerve bypasses the middle ear to offer movement to the facial muscles. It is located in close proximity to the place where the surgeon is supposed to conduct the surgery, and therefore, it might be a risky factor for the surgery. Just in case any injury occurs in that nerve, it might lead to a temporary or permanent weakening or complete paralysis on the same side of the face as the implant.

  2. Meningitis: Meningitis is an infection occurring at the lining of the brain surface. People who mainly have abnormally formed inner ear structures emerge to be at a higher risk of this rare but severe complication.

  3. Cerebrospinal Fluid Leakage: Our brain is circled by fluid which might have the possibility of leaking if a hole is created in the inner ear or from somewhere in the brain covering caused by the implant.

  4. Perilymph Fluid Leakage: The inner ear or cochlear comprises fluid. And this fluid might leak through the hole that was developed to place the implant.

  5. Infection: General infection occurring as a result of the skin wound.

  6. Blood or Fluid Collection: This might happen at the site of surgery.

  7. One might experience attacks of dizziness or vertigo.

  8. Tinnitus: This is a ringing or humming sound present in the ear.

  9. Taste Disturbances: The nerve that offers taste sensation to the tongue also circumvents the middle ear and might be impaired during the surgery.

  10. Numbness: One might encounter numbness around the ear after the surgery.

  11. Reparative Granuloma: This is the outcome of localized inflammation that might occur if the body nullifies the implant.

Cochlear Implant
Cochlear Implant

Additional Risks Linked with Cochlear Implant

Apart from the aforementioned risks, there might be additional risks associated with the implant.

  1. Might Receive Different Sounds: The person might experience different sounds despite correct cochlear function.

  2. Might Undergo Unknown and Uncertain Effects: The long-term effects of the stimulation derived from the electrical currents might have adverse effects.

  3. Might Not be Able to Hear and Understand Language Like Others: Some people might undergo complexity in hearing and understanding language.

  4. Heavily Battery-Focused: This medical device is heavily based on batteries.

Despite certain risks, hearing impairment can be significantly handled by a cochlear implant. There are thousands of people who undergo cochlear implants regularly, and the end result has been positive for the majority of them. Speaking of cochlear implants, Neubio’s implants offer exceptional features and post-surgery maintenance. If you are looking forward to getting a cochlear implant, Neubio’s is the one.

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