Cochlear implants are specially designed devices that directly stimulate the auditory nerve and by doing so allow bypassing damaged cells of the cochlea responsible for hearing impairment. This is quite an amazing device which helps individuals with hearing impairment to perceive sounds.
Each cochlear implant has two parts. The external part is placed behind the ear. The other, internal part is surgically implanted under the skin. The implant's microphone collects sound signals and these are then arranged and carefully selected. Arrangement and selection of received sound signals are achieved by the speech processor. What follows is sending of the received and selected signals to the transmitter and stimulator and conversion of the signals into electric impulses. And finally, these electric impulses via an electrode array stimulate different portions of the auditory nerve producing a hearing sensation.
Potential Candidates and the Results of the Surgery
Not all people suffering from hearing loss are suitable candidates for cochlear implant surgery. Potential candidates undergo thorough examination and a series of tests including audiologic testing, psychological testing as well as imaging studies such as X-ray, MRI. It is also essential to have sessions with patient's family members during which doctors determine whether they are suitable enough to provide with proper post-implant care. Cochlear implant does not restore damaged hearing. Instead, it can assist patients to relate signals from the device with sounds. In order to achieve this ability patients need to practice a lot. Eventually, they become able to understand speech and develop speech, if they have not already managed to do so.
Cochlear Implant Surgery Cost
Cochlear implant surgery is quite expensive and the reason why this is so is because the very device is highly complex and costs a lot of money to be produced and the very surgery requires well-experienced surgeons who may charge quite a lot to perform the operation. It is, therefore, obvious why cochlear implant surgery costs way too much comparing to hearing aids.
The entire cost can be easily divided into pre-operative cost, surgical cost and post-operative cost. Before the surgery certain amount of money is spent on medical and audiological evaluation as well as imaging tests. Surgical cost includes the price of the cochlear implant and there is cost of the very surgery, hospitalization charges etc. Post-operative cost refers to programming the device and the complete rehabilitation. To sum up, all the previously mentioned together may range from $50,000 to $100,000. It is essential to be familiar with potential complications of the surgery such as meningitis, postoperative facial numbness, tinnitus and vertigo. So, the price is quite high but what these amazing devices provide with is simply worth spending money.