What is a Cochlear Implant (Bionic Ear)?
The Cochlear Implant, also known as the ‘Bionic Ear’ among the people, is an inner ear prosthesis that is surgically implanted, designed to help those with severe/profound hearing loss who cannot benefit from hearing aids or have inadequate hearing aids. The bionic ear system consists of two parts. The first is the inner part of the implant placed in the inner ear with a 2-4-hour operation; The second part is the microphone that processes the received speech, the sound sensitivity unit, the outer part that is attached to the back of the ear where the volume control is located. Sounds are received by the microphone in the outer part and converted into electrical signals, which reach the speech processor. Here it is coded and passes through the skin and reaches the implant via radio waves. A series of electrical impulses are sent to the electrodes of the implant located in the cochlea (snail). In this way, the auditory nerve receives these impulses and sends them to the brain. The brain perceives these signals as sound.
Who can benefit from this application?
- Children and adults between the ages of 0-5 who have congenital or acquired hearing loss,
- Those whose hearing loss is only caused by a problem in the inner ear and who cannot receive sufficient speech information with hearing aids,
- Adults who lost their hearing as a result of an illness, operation or accident while they had the ability to hear,
- Those with a loss of 95 dBHL and above,
- Those with severe, severe and total hearing loss can benefit from this application.
For whom is this application not suitable?
- If a well-adjusted device provides the person with sufficient speaking and understanding capacity,
- If you have severe hearing loss for a very long time,
- If the cochlea is not the main cause of hearing loss,
- The cochlea is too bad to receive the electrodes, the auditory nerve is damaged or absent,
- Cochlear Implant application is not suitable if the person is not healthy enough to withstand anesthesia and operation.
What are the benefits of the Cochlear Implant?
- Earing everyday sounds: Cochlear implant users may become more capable of hearing environmental sounds. Thus, the person has a chance to establish a closer relationship with his environment.
- Understanding Speech: Although this situation takes a certain time in children, speech sounds become intelligible. The ability to hear spoken is especially helpful for lip-readers and makes communication a lot easier for most users in their daily life.
- Improving and Improving Speech: Implant users can correct their own speech over time by hearing their own speech and the speech of others.
- Listening in a Noisy Environments: With its fast warning capacity and advanced speech processor in noisy environments, it provides speech understanding.
How is Bionic Ear (Cochlear Implant) surgery performed?
For the candidate who is ready for surgery in every aspect, the Cochlear Implant operation takes approximately 2-4 hours under general anesthesia. The risk of the operation is equivalent to other ear operations. Space is made for the implant in the bone behind the ear. A small hole is made in the inner ear. The electrode carrier is inserted into the cochlea (inner ear). The electrode carrier and the implant package are fixed. Electrode function is tested before the wound is closed. Generally, patients do not experience any discomfort when they wake up. When it comes to post-operative need, pain relief; In terms of the risk of infection, preventive antibiotic treatment is given. Patients who get up on the same day are usually discharged from the hospital after 3 to 5 days.
How does hearing occur with a cochlear implant?
The speech processor, specially prepared by the audiologist, is inserted 3-6 weeks after the operation. The program of the speech processor connected to the computer contains the timbre, loudness and timing settings of the voice. The computer transmits the signals it produces at controlled levels to the user through the speech processor. The minimum sound level (threshold level) and the highest but not disturbing sound level (most comfortable level) are determined for the user. For all electrodes inside the cochlea, these two levels are determined separately. Thus, sounds are heard, but do not disturb the patient. This program is adjusted again in the following sessions. During the follow-up period, the user and his family must follow the follow-up schedule arranged by the cochlear implant team to ensure the greatest benefit.