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Cochlear Implants
What is it? Overview Usage Side Effects and Warnings

What are Cochlear Implants?

A cochlear implant is a surgically-implanted electronic device. It helps provide hearing to people who have a certain type of hearing loss. This type of hearing loss is usually caused by damage or a defect in the inner ear. The implants can directly stimulate the auditory nerve to send information to the brain.

Cochlear implants have three parts:

  • Speech processor—The speech processor looks like a long, narrow calculator. It is worn behind the ear or on a belt. It amplifies sound, converts it into digital signals, and sends these signals to the transmitter.
  • Transmitter—The transmitter is a headphone that is worn behind the ear. It receives electrical signals from the speech processor and transmits them through the skin to the receiver.
  • Receiver—The receiver is the part that...

Cochlear implants provide a heightened sense of sound for adults and children with profound hearing loss. They are designed for people whose hearing does not improve with surgical correction or the use of a hearing aid. Cochlear implants will not restore or create normal hearing.

Possible Complications

Complications are rare, but no procedure is completely free of risk. If you are planning to have an implant, your doctor will review a list of possible complications, which may include:

  • Infection
  • Damage to nearby nerves
  • Problems with balance
  • Emotional distress due to higher expectations than the technology can achieve
  • Poor quality of hearing following the surgery

Some factors that may increase the risk of complications include:

  • Previous surgery
  • Previous ear infections
  • Abnormal anatomy

Call Your Doctor

After you leave the hospital, contact your doctor if any of the following occurs:

  • Pain
  • Dizziness or vomiting
  • Facial paralysis or twitching
  • Signs of infection, including fever and chills