Cochlear implant is a two part electronic device which is used to stimulate the auditory nerves to help people who are severely hard of hearing. It is different from a hearing aid.
While a hearing aid is used to amplify the external sound for the damaged ear, the cochlear implant bypasses the damaged portion of the ear and directly stimulates the auditory nerve in accordance with the external sound.
While the hearing aid is a totally external device and does not involve any surgical procedure, the cochlear implant requires a surgical procedure to place a part of the device under the skin. For an adult who had lost his hearing capability in later years the hearing aid will help him to listen to speech and music the same way he had heard them before he had lost his hearing. In the case of cochlear implant, that is not going to be the case. They have to undergo therapy to correlate the actual sound and what they hear. The sounds are not necessarily clear and not at all on the same level as normal hearing. They are able to recognize warning signals and normal sounds of the environment and they can also enjoy conversation. There is no need for lip reading any more.
Most patients experience difficulty in hearing in a noisy environment such as stadiums and malls s the extra noise is found to interfere with the conversation and the patient can hardly make out what is being said. Cochlear implant is vulnerable to damage from electromagnetic interference (EMI). Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), therapeutic ionizing radiation, electro surgery, diathermy, neurostimulation and electroconvulsive therapy can cause damage t the cochlear implant. In addition, everyday products such as cell phones, electronic article surveillance systems and metal detection devices can also cause damage to the cochlear implant.
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