How A Cochlear Implant Can Improve Your Life
When hearing aids aren’t enough, cochlear implants are often the best solution for those affected by hearing impairments. With nearly half a million cochlear implant users worldwide, the tiny electronic devices help children and adults around the globe lead happier and healthier lives. Here’s how you or a loved one could benefit from cochlear implants, too.
In today’s article we’ll discuss how your life may improve with a cochlear implant, from the time you decide it’s the right step for you, to working with your Audiologist and ENT to relearn the sense of hearing. We’ll also look at both the difficulties experienced before, and the improvements noticed after receiving a cochlear implant.
Please note, whilst studies indicate very high success rates – in fact, with less than 0.2 percent of recipients rejecting their cochlear implants, they are the world’s most successful medical prostheses – everybody’s hearing journey is different.
Yes, most recipients have no or very little reservations, but results may vary from person to person. A cochlear implant is not for everyone and we urge you to contact your Audiologist, ENT or GP to discuss whether it’s an option for you.
What is a Cochlear Implant?
A cochlear implant is a small electronic device that helps those with severe hearing loss. Cochlear implants turn sound vibrations into electrical signals that travel along the auditory (hearing) nerve. The brain receives and translates these signals into recognisable sounds.
Like hearing aids, cochlear implants cannot restore normal hearing. What is lost can not be recovered. Unlike hearing aids, they do however not simply amplify sounds. Instead, they help those affected by hearing loss make better sense of sounds and speech.
How do Cochlear Implants work?
Cochlear implants further differ from hearing aids in that they consist of two parts. One sits at the side of the head, just behind the ear. It contains a microphone, which picks up sounds, and a speech processor, which arranges those sounds and converts them into electric impulses.
A second part is surgically implanted under the skin, just behind the ear – hence the term “implant”. It collects the impulses from a transmitter and sends them to the auditory nerve. From there, they’re passed on to the brain, which recognises the signals as sound.
Click here to learn more about how cochlear implants work!
How soon after the surgery will you hear the difference?
A cochlear implant can be switched on any time between day one to six weeks after surgery.
As soon as the cochlear implant is switched on, your auditory rehabilitation journey begins. Your brain needs to be trained to understand the electrical sounds that it hears and turn them into words and sentences. This may continue for up to two years, as per your Audiologist’s planning and reviewing of your progress.
Over several sessions, your Audiologist will adjust or fine tune your device to help improve your hearing. Cochlear implants are an amazing technology: They allow those with little to no hearing to experience sounds, and improve their day to day communication with friends and family.
Untreated Hearing Loss Has Devastating Effects
Audiologists work with people who have varying degrees of hearing loss. Those with severe to profound hearing loss often experience dramatic effects on their life, including:
- Difficulties hearing friends and family members during their daily activities
- Verbal communication with friends and loved one’s becomes almost near impossible
- Rising frustration that manifests over time with more and more repetitions needed
- It becomes emotionally draining trying to communicate effectively
- This is accompanied by a general sense of social isolation and a lack of confidence
- It becomes harder to hear the radio, watch TV and enjoy activities of daily life
- There are fewer employment opportunities
- Accompanied health risks include dementia and cognitive impairments
What Changes When You Receive A Cochlear Implant?
Cochlear implants improve your overall quality of life. People who have received a cochlear implant and the appropriate training, are able to recognise speech more clearly. According to a German study, this also increases their self esteem. Said study also found that the changes resulting from implants benefit the recipients’ social interaction as they can join in conversations and feel included. The benefits for the emotional, psychological and physical well-being of implant recipients are undeniable.
Tapping Into Life’s Good Side
The decision for a cochlear implant will give you every opportunity to lead a full life in a hearing world. The many benefits that cochlear implant recipients enjoy include:
- Improved overall mental health, as implants may prevent and improve depression and anxiety caused by isolation and communication issues.
- Improved overall physical health and well-being, as recipients tend to be more active and engaged in the world post surgery.
- Improved partner and family relationships, as communication becomes easier.
- Improved self confidence in starting and maintaining conversations. Recipients can now take the lead and participate in everyday conversations.
- Improved ability to do ‘normal’ things such as: Talk on the phone, listen to music and socialise with family and friends.
- Feel safer being able to hear alarms, emergency sirens and traffic when crossing the road or…
- Driving a car, they can now hear the indicators, traffic noise, listen to the radio or carry on a conversation with passengers.
- They have more employment opportunities.
Wrapping it up
Cochlear implants are a great option for many people and make positive contributions to the lives of those who suffer from severe to profound hearing loss. This is supported by research results: which proves that cochlear implants greatly improve quality of life and speech recognition – especially for people who have a history of profound hearing loss.
Cochlear implants have been shown to be of benefit to both mind and body. Cognition, social interactions and quality of life can improve for both young and old, when their hearing is restored with a cochlear implant.
Act today and find out whether a cochlear implant may be the right choice for you. Contact the hearing care experts at Attune Hearing and take charge of your ear health.