How Long Can Cochlear Implants Last?
Living with hearing loss can dramatically affect a person's life, impacting everything from communication and relationships to self-confidence. Cochlear implant surgery, one of the key services offered at Cross Timbers ENT, presents a beacon of hope for those grappling with mild to severe hearing impairment.
Based out of Arlington, Midlothian, and Mansfield, our Texas ENT doctors are dedicated to providing advanced solutions to help restore the richness of sound and transform lives. If you or a loved one are struggling with hearing loss, we invite you to schedule a consultation with our team or keep reading to learn more about the benefits of cochlear implants and whether or not they can be the right solution for you.
What are cochlear implants?
Cochlear implants are advanced medical devices designed to provide a sense of sound to individuals who are mildly to profoundly deaf or severely hard of hearing. Unlike hearing aids, which amplify sounds so they may be heard more clearly, cochlear implants bypass the damaged part of the auditory system to directly stimulate the auditory nerve.
A cochlear implant consists of two primary parts. One part sits behind the ear, external to the body, while the other part is surgically implanted beneath the skin. This transformative technology is a lifeline for many, enabling them to connect with the world in ways that were previously not possible.
How do cochlear implants work?
The process begins with the external component, which consists of a microphone, a speech processor, and a transmitter. The microphone captures sounds from the environment, which are then converted into digital signals by the speech processor. The transmitter then sends these digital signals to the receiver implanted under the skin.
The internal part of the implant, positioned in the cochlea in the inner ear, receives these signals and converts them into electric impulses. These impulses are sent along the electrode array to the auditory nerve, which sends them to the brain to be interpreted as sound. This entire process happens almost instantaneously, providing an almost seamless auditory experience.
What are the benefits of cochlear implants?
Cochlear implants provide numerous benefits, greatly enhancing the quality of life for users. Some of these benefits include:
- Improved speech understanding: Cochlear implants can dramatically improve the comprehension of speech, even in noisy environments.
- Ease in telephone usage: They often make phone conversations more accessible and enjoyable.
- Appreciation of music: Many users report a newfound or enhanced ability to enjoy music post-implantation.
- Boost in confidence: Improved communication skills can lead to increased self-esteem and better interactions in both social and professional environments.
However, the benefits of cochlear implants can vary greatly depending on several factors, such as the age of the patient at the time of implantation and the cause and duration of hearing loss.
How long do cochlear implants last?
Now, let's tackle the question of how long cochlear implants last. The internal component of the cochlear implant — the part that is surgically placed under the skin — is designed to last a lifetime. On the other hand, the external component, the speech processor, might require replacement every 5 – 10 years due to normal wear and tear or to upgrade to newer technology.
The original cochlear implant surgery is an investment, but the cost and process of upgrading the external speech processor are less demanding than the initial surgery. Plus, technology upgrades can potentially improve the user's hearing experience, and patients consider it a worthwhile investment.
Discover the life-changing benefits of cochlear implants
Cochlear implants offer an effective, long-term solution to severe hearing loss. At Cross Timbers ENT, with locations in Arlington, Midlothian, and Mansfield, TX, we are dedicated to guiding you in your treatment. From the initial consultation to the cochlear implant surgery and the ongoing aftercare, our expert Texas ENT doctors are with you every step of the way.
If you have any questions about cochlear implants or are considering the procedure for yourself or a loved one, please contact us. We're committed to helping you reconnect with the world of sound.