Know more about cochlear implants for hearing disabled kids
Cochlear implant is a device that is implanted in the ear to help those with hearing loss listen to sounds. The device is a sound amplifier that transmits sound waves to the auditory nerves, which in turn send the message to the brain. The process aims at restoring hearing abilities in children suffering from hearing loss.
Cochlear implants are used when a person, be it a child or adult, suffers sensorineural hearing loss. This is a condition in which, minute hair cells present in cochlea are damaged. Cochlea houses the auditory nerve. So, when these hair cells are damaged, sound waves do not fall on the nerve effectively, thus causing loss of hearing.
When a cochlear implant is done, the implant transmits sound waves directly to the auditory nerve, thus preventing the sound waves from passing through the damaged hair cells.
Cochlear Implant Trivia
Cochlear implants can be performed in children as young as a year old
Sensorineural hearing loss is often caused when a child is deprived of oxygen during childbirth, due to illnesses and medication and prolonged exposure to loud environmental noise.
Cochlear implant comprises a set of devices that together help a person to hear. There are two major components of the implant – one is implanted under the skin and the other is worn on the body.
The one under the skin is implanted behind the ear making a tiny incision. This device is a sound wave receiver. Electrodes are inserted into the cochlea and the implant behind the ear is connected to them.
The head gear consists of three parts – a speech processor, a transmitter and a microphone. These three things are fitted on the patient within a fortnight of the surgery. These are all external parts and non-invasive.
The microphone is worn on the ear like a normal hearing aid. Speech processor can either be fitted on the ear or on any other part of the body. The choice is usually left to the patient. This speech processor performs multiple functions such as connection with other listening devices and telephone compatibility.
The actual hearing action takes place in five stages. In the first stage, the microphone receives sound waves and converts them into electrical waves. In the next stage, these electric sound waves are sent through the transmitter to the receiver that is implanted under the skin. In the third stage, the receiver conveys these sounds to the electrodes implanted at the cochlea. In the fourth stage, electrodes pass on the sound waves to the auditory nerve and in the final stage, the auditory nerve transmits these waves to the brain, where the waves are processed and the person can hear.
Early intervention brings good results Cochlear implants work best when the process is performed early in life. Children have been found to adapt to the implant more effectively and lead a more normal life. Different kinds of programs are designed in order to help children regain hearing and learn to speak. Cochlear implants have proved to be very successful in helping people hear.