Discover how a hybrid cochlear implant can help patients interpret sounds.
Medical technology has come a long way in helping people with severe hearing loss engage the world around them. These patients no longer need to rely on methods like lip reading or sign language to understand what people are saying to them. They can now enjoy a greater ability to hear with hybrid cochlear implants.
A hybrid cochlear implant is an electronic medical device that is implanted into a person’s inner ear
It takes the place of damaged inner ear components like the ear drumthat normally would detect and interpret sounds
These implants are beneficial in helping people with moderate to severe hearing loss be able to hear what is going around them and understand what other people are saying to them. The implant utilizes a microphone that amplifies sounds as well as electrodes that send signals to the brain. It also features a speech processor that helps wearers determine what words are being spoken to them and what words they say in return in normal conversations.
These devices are implanted through a surgical implant procedure that is moderately invasive. They also work best when they are used in conjunction with speech therapy so that patients who wear them learn how to interpret, react to, and understand inflection, facial expressions, language, and other components of conversations better.
Hybrid Cochlear Implant Procedure
As mentioned, the implant procedure itself is moderately invasive and typically done in a hospital setting. The surgeon performing the operation will use equipment like a drill and suction device to clear the inner ear and mastoid area for the implant.
During the surgery, you will remain sedated and asleep. It can last for up to an hour and requires that your incision be sutured or closed with skin adhesive. After the operation is over, you will be taken to a recovery room to remain under observation until you are taken to a patient room or discharged to go home.
You may experience moderate to significant pain in the treated area after the surgery. Your physician will likely prescribe pain medications and antibiotics for you to take to facilitate your healing.
As beneficial and safe as this operation is, it is not for everyone. Patients with high-risk illnesses like high blood pressure, heart disease, or diabetes may be disqualified from the implant surgery. Likewise, children who are not fully vaccinated may not be permitted to go through the implant operation.
Additionally, some patients experience post-operative complications like:
Allergic reactions to the implant
Post-op allergies to the anesthetic medications used during surgery
Uncontrollable twitching of the facial muscles
Dislodging of the implant
Implant malfunction or failure to work properly
Still, most hybrid cochlear implant operations are successful and help people with moderate to severe hearing loss regain this all-important sense. These implants allow people to engage the world around them and understand what is being spoken to them without having to rely on sign language or lip reading.
It is also safe for children as young as two or three years of age to undergo. You can decide if it is right for you by learning how and why it is performed today.