What do audiologists think of cochlear implants
Cochlear implants: surgery and initial fitting
Once the decision for a cochlear implant has been made, the treatment can be planned. After the operation, the device is put into operation and adjusted for the first time.
Find out how you receive comprehensive care in our hearing center (CHC) and what to expect during surgery and initial fitting.
How is the operation going?
An inpatient stay of five to seven days is necessary in our clinic for the implantation of the cochlear implant. The operation is performed under general anesthesia and is a routine procedure that is part of the standard program of the clinic. The risks are comparable to those of other interventions on the middle ear; the operation takes one to two hours. In principle, the implantation is only carried out in healthy conditions. For example, if a child has an otitis media, the operation will be postponed.
The skin incision for the implantation runs behind the auricle and, depending on the type of implant, is continued a little above the tip of the auricle (minimally invasive). The implant is pushed under the skin. In order to better fix the implant housing under the skin in the bone, a flat implant bed is usually milled into the bone. Then the ear bone (mastoid) is opened and a canal is drilled into the bone. An access to the middle ear is made from behind and the electrode is inserted into the cochlea. Before the operation is completed, the function of the implant is checked and the auditory nerve is stimulated for the first time.
What happens after the operation?
The operation is not very stressful for the body. After the waking up phase, mobilization - i.e. sitting on the edge of the bed and getting up under supervision - is possible. Soon after, a small meal and visitors can be received. On the first day after the operation, the position of the electrode in the cochlea is checked by an X-ray.
During the stay in the clinic, slight wound pain may occur for a short time. In addition, there may be minor bleeding from the ear area, which is harmless.
During the rest of the time in the clinic, the color and type of speech processor is selected and the appointment for the first activation of the implant is made. The sutures can be removed seven days after the operation. The wound area heals completely over another two to three weeks.
What happens with the first fitting?
The speech processor is activated for the first time four to six weeks after the operation. This happens as part of a two-day inpatient stay in our hearing center. On these two days, the processor is individually adjusted to the patient's hearing perception. We make sure that the first auditory impressions are not too loud and, based on this, change the settings so that the first speech impressions can be understood. This first hearing success is checked and documented by accompanying tests.
Our experts give detailed instructions on the technology of the device and provide detailed instructions on hearing training. We make appointments for the next few months and advise on all possible outpatient, partial inpatient or inpatient rehabilitation measures. We work on site with our cooperation partner in rehabilitation, the Cochlear Implant Center (CIC) South in Würzburg.
In addition, the patient receives a hearing diary from us, in which the most important points for further follow-up care are summarized and in which the experiences with the hearing success can be documented in the first few weeks. These comments can be helpful in order to adjust the implant even better at the next follow-up appointments.
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