Cochlear Implant Surgery: What You Want To Know About It

In data released by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Diseases (NIDCD) in 2012, there are about 324,200 registered cochlear implants worldwide. In the United States alone, about 58,000 devices have been implanted in adults and 38,000 in children. Cochlear implant surgery is a relatively new technology developed for children and adults who are deaf or those with who have severe hearing difficulties.

Cochlear Implant Surgery: What You Want To Know About

Cochlear implants were first approved by the FDA in the mid-1980s to treat adults with hearing loss. In 2000, it was endorsed by the FDA for use in eligible children who are 12 months and older. My daughter has been through two cochlear implant surgeries. In 2001, she received her first cochlear implant surgery, and in 2013 she underwent the second cochlear surgery. The first cochlear implant surgery was done at Portsmouth Naval Hospital and her second surgery was done at a Children’s Hospital in Dallas, Texas.

What Is Cochlear Implant Surgery?

This type of surgery is sometimes called a “bionic ear.” It is a tiny device that is surgically implanted in the inner ear, also known as, the cochlea. This implant offers hope for people to regain or restore the ability to sense sound. The cochlea is a snail-shaped, curled tube that is located in the part of the ear where nerves are found. Its primary function is to gather electrical signals from different sound vibrations and transmits them to your auditory nerve. When parts of the cochlea are not working correctly, the hearing nerves are not stimulated, so electrical signals cannot reach the brain. Therefore, hearing does not occur. Cochlear implants bypass the damaged part of the cochlea by using its electrical signals to stimulate the auditory nerves.

Advantages of Cochlear Implant

Having cochlear implants is a life-changing way for those who have serious hearing problems, although the results are not the same for anyone. Some people may experience more benefits than others. For some patients like my daughter, who are born deaf, she doesn’t know the difference in hearing. I have been told that hearing with a cochlear implant is different than the way we hear things. Instead, she hears something similar to the way Mickey Mouse or a computer-generated voice. However, people who lost their sense of hearing later in life shares that there is a difference in the way they hear with the transplant. Cochlear implants allow patients to be able to:

  • Hear speech at a nearly normal level
  • Understand speech without lip reading
  • Easier to talk on the phone and hear the TV/radio or other noises
  • You will be able to listen to music
  • Pick out the different type of sounds
  • Have better control of your voice

Cochlear implant surgery is a great way for patients with hearing problems to be able to hear normally. Today, numerous studies are being done to make it the best option for patients with hearing problem compared to other hearing aid solutions. The growth of this surgery has been very promising, and every year more and more advancement is discovered. I am happy to report that my daughter has been able to enjoy her life normally. If you think your child or family member is a good candidate for Cochlear implant surgery, ask your doctor about it.

Why We Choose to Have my Daughter’s Second Cochlear Implant Surgery at a Children’s Hospital

Has your child ever had to have surgery or a medical procedure? I remember being super nervous when my daughter was in surgery. Once, I was able to see her, I felt a sense of relief even though she was in quite a bit of pain. My daughter was 15 when she had her second cochlear implant surgery so she was able to voice how she was feeling after surgery. We were pleased with the service that we got at Children’s Hospital of Dallas. I love that the hospital is geared towards taking care of children and catering to their special needs

Has your child ever had surgery or a scary procedure performed at a Children’s Hospital?