Some people suffer from a deafness problem that cannot be corrected. Fortunately, there is a way to make them hear sounds.
This is where cochlear implants come along. This device is surgically planted and instead of amplifying sounds which hearing aids do, it stimulates the functioning auditory nerves inside the cochlea with an electric field stimulated through an electric impulse.
This implant consists of many small parts. These include a microphone, speech processor and an RF transmitter. Not that many people have undergone this procedure because it is very expensive and there are still other options available before this will be utilized.
But is it worth the money? Most of the patients who have undergone cochlear implant say so because although you get almost near to normal hearing.
A study has shown that adults who have had cochlear implants benefit almost immediately and their hearing improves quite rapidly after the first 6 months of tuning sessions. This is not the same for children because it will take them more time to adjust to the implant.
The device helps them distinguish different types of sound and understand speech without the need to lip read. In fact a surprising number are able to use the telephone.
The only limitation to cochlear implants is that background noise is still present and this will interfere with the person’s ability to understand. When this happens, he or she has to rely more on speech or lip reading instead of this listening device.
This is why doctors say that although there are benefits to cochlear implants, to what degree really depends on the patient. These factors depend on auditory memory, exposure to sound before hearing was lost, shorter period of deafness before surgery, the condition of the cochlea and the auditory nerve fibers.
Once the device has been implanted, the patient has to visit the clinic regularly for the first 6 months to adjust the volume and to make sure that everything is working. If a child was the one who underwent the cochlea implant, they will need to develop their listening and speech skills compared to adults.
So what is the price tag for a cochlear implant? The cost could go from $40,000 to $100,000. This depends where it was performed and who was the specialist in charge of the operation. Money should not be an issue anymore given that most third party health insurance health plants now cover a certain percentage for those who need a cochlear implant.
The cochlear implant is the only device to date that can help people who have permanent deafness problems. In fact, research is now ongoing to see if this can also help people with other types of hearing loss.
In the US alone, 23,000 adults and 15,500 children have received them. Most of the children who had this were between two to six years of age but the age requirement was lowered in 2000 making it possible for even a one year old to undergo the implant.
There is no doubt that someone who is deaf or is suffering from a permanent deafness problem will benefit from a cochlear implant. You might even call it “life-changing” given that you are given second chance to hear again the different sounds that life has to offer.