The cochlea implant (CI)
If a high-graded hearing loss of the inner ear cannot be treated with hearing aids and the acoustic nerve is intact, a cochlea implant is an alternative.
The electrodes of the cochlea implant are inserted in the inner ear (cochlea) to stimulate the cells of the acoustic nerve. This stimulation works electrical. Comparable to the elemental hearing, hearing impressions can be received again. The cochlea implant replaces the hair cells of the inner-ear. After exact diagnostics and detailed information about the expected result the decision about transplanting a CI is made together with the parents, the responsible doctor, the acoustician, therapists and pedagogues. Contacts with people who already have a CI and their parents are often helpful.
The operation is made under anesthesia and takes about 2 hours. An inpatient stay of 2 days is necessary. After 3-4 weeks of healing the first modulation is done by an audio engineer. The first impressions are very unfamiliar and multifarious. With the aid of further modulations of the CI as well as speech orientated training more and more elements of the speech can be identified within weeks and months. Adults who lost their hearing after the acquisition of speech the re-entry in the world of hearing happens relatively fast. Children with a CI need an intensive furtherance and support by their parents, therapists and pedagogues to succeed. With additional classes well supported children do not always have to attend a school for deaf people.
The CI is composed of an inner part which is under the skin (multichannel electrodes) and the external speech-processor connected via a magnet.
Indication for Cochlear Implants:
- children who are deaf or have a high-graded hearing loss
- Adults who lost their hearing after the acquisition of speech
- Adults and children who lost their hearing on both sides after a disease (for instance meningitis -> CI emergency)
An implant can only be considered if despite the best hearing aid provision no satisfying result is achieved and the anatomic conditions (e.g. intact acoustic nerve) have to be given.