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An electrical device that helps to hear is a cochlear implant. It may be a possibility for those who are unable to hear effectively with hearing aids due to severe hearing loss brought on by inner-ear damage.

A cochlear implant bypasses damaged areas of the ear to send sound impulses to the hearing (auditory) nerve, in contrast to hearing aids which amplify sound.

A behind-the-ear sound processor is used with cochlear implants. The receiver is implanted behind the ear and receives sound signals from the processor by sending them to the receiver. The impulses are sent from the receiver to electrodes inserted in the inner ear's snail-shaped structure (cochlea).

The signals stimulate the auditory nerve, which then directs the signals to the brain. The brain interprets those signals as sounds, though these sounds won't be just like natural hearing.

Learning to identify the signals coming from a cochlear implant requires practice and time. Most cochlear implant users improve their ability to interpret speech significantly within the first three to six months of use.

When hearing aids are no longer helpful for someone with severe hearing loss, cochlear implants can help them hear better. Their quality of life and ability to communicate can be enhanced through cochlear implants.

Both ears or one ear (unilateral) can receive cochlear implants (bilateral). Adults frequently start off with one hearing aid and one cochlear implant. As the hearing loss in the hearing aid ear worsens, adults could eventually graduate to two cochlear implants. In newborns and young children who are developing language skills and who have bilateral severe hearing loss, cochlear implants are frequently implanted in both ears at the same time.

Adults of any age and children as young as 6 to 12 months old can benefit from cochlear implants.

Cochlear implant recipients report greater:

· Speech comprehension without the need for lip reading or other visual clues.

· Understanding of common environmental sounds.

· Ability to hear television programs, music, and phone conversations.

· Capability to hear in noisy environments.

· Capability to locate the source of sounds.

· Tinnitus symptoms in the implanted ear.

You must meet the following criteria in order to be considered for a cochlear implant:

• Hearing loss that interferes with spoken communication

• Limited benefit from hearing aids as determined by specialized hearing tests

• Drive to engage in hearing rehabilitation and integrate into the hearing community

• Realistic expectations of what cochlear implants can and cannot do for hearing

Surgery for cochlear implants is very safe.

Loss of residual hearing: It is one of the risks associated with cochlear implantation. Some persons may experience a loss of any remaining, unclear natural hearing in the implanted ear after the device has been installed.

Inflammation of the spinal cord's and brain's protective membranes (meningitis): Following cochlear implant surgery, meningitis is possible. Adults and children alike are typically immunized to lower the risk of meningitis before implantation. Less than 1 in 1,000 cochlear implant users are at risk for this extremely rare problem.

Device failure: Surgery may occasionally be required to fix or replace a malfunctioning inside the device. Less than 5% of people experience this for a long period of time.

Cochlear Implant

Summing Up:

Adults of any age and children as young as 6 to 12 months old can benefit from cochlear implant which has been an efficient solution for hearing problems. It is best suited for patients who cannot benefit from hearing aids.

At Bangalore Hearing & Implant Institute, our multidisciplinary team combines the expertise of leading professionals with the latest available technology to provide the best pre-and post-surgical management for cochlear implants. Get in touch with us to know more.

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