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Full Version: Implementation and Use of Cochlear Implants
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Today's technology has progressed and achieved a major breakthrough in the treatment of sensorineural deafness. A system of cochlear implants has been developed, which allows sound remark, even those frequencies that the ear due to damage of certain sensory cells can not hear. This is a significant advantage, unlike current hearing devices which are just audio amplifiers.

Cochlear implant system consists of two parts: external and internal. The external part is a tiny powerful speech processor with accessories and internal part of the inner electrode and the receiver. The outer part consists of a speech processor, microphone and the coil (transmitter) connected via wired connection. Speech processor, the size of a cigarette pack, in general, is powered by standard AA or rechargeable batteries of 1.5 V.

The receiver is surgically placed under the skin behind the ear. Electrodes, connected to the receiver, is surgically implanted into the cochlea and is therefore called implant. Electrode implanted in the cochlea is in contact with the auditory nerve and takes over the role of sensory cells.

Operation

Surgical procedure, which in general is performed only on one ear, last for several hours, and it is done by installing the inner part of cochlear implant. The procedure is performed under general anesthesia, but despite that, it is not particularly difficult for a child. The reasons for the long duration of the operation are the fact that it is a microsurgery of the ear, and the process of checking of the electrode, which is performed during surgery. In rare cases, the operation is performed on both sides, with two cochlear implant systems.

Recovery after surgery is rapid. The wound is reviewed every day until the external stitches are removed, which is usually done seven to ten days after surgery. The exterior part of the system, processor, microphone and transmitter are for the first time placed approximately six weeks after the operation, when its function is assessed for the first time. Then the child is stimulated by the first sound of the new toys, but the path to recognizing the sound takes some time.

The Use and Operation of The Cochlear Implant and Speech Processor

There are also smaller versions of voice processors that are worn behind the ear. Sizes are like standard retroauricular amplifiers. They are not recommended for use in children, given the modest processor programming options and a higher risk of loss and damage.

Microphone is worn behind the ear. Outdoor coil – transmitter, is attached to the magnet and in direct contact with the receiver placed under the skin. Coil and a microphone and associated cables the can be visually hidden using hair.

The System of Wearing The Speech Processor

Speech processor can be worn in different ways. Typically, this is on the belt around the waist. Children wear processor in bag on their back, where is the slightest chance of damage of the device. Another possibility is the vest pocket, located on the back or side above the belt.

Sound is registered by microphone located behind the ear and then transmitted to the speech processor. Sounds are in the processor, with a variety of strategies (programs) analyzed and converted into electrical codes. Coded signals are transmitted through the coil to the receiver placed under the skin. The receiver forwards the information to electrodes implanted in the cochlea. The electrode is in close contact with the hearing nerve, which stimulates by electrical impulses. Through the cochlear nerve, tonal information is already partially processed and transmitted to the central auditory system and the brain areas responsible for hearing. Central auditory system processes sound information received and allows its understanding and practical use. Simply put, the system of cochlear implant allows the children to hear, and the brain to understand what they heard.

Adjustment Process and Rehabilitation

After the surgery, and first speech processor settings, the child is included in the rehabilitation process. It is a time consuming job that requires teamwork of professionals and parents, but it brings great results. With the well-conducted rehabilitation, child begins to understand speech and uses primarily speech to communicate.

During the first year, speech processor automatically adjusts every six to eight weeks, and then less frequently. The goal is to find the best strategy in the speech signal processing in order to provide quality and comfortable listening, and therefore a good understanding.

The Decision of Parents

There are different and conflicting views on cochlear implants - artificial cochlea. Some people tend to emphasize the risk of the surgery and the fact that when installing the electrodes, the remnants of hearing in this ear are completely destroyed. The surgery is, as I have mentioned quite painless and easy to bear, and is now routinely performed (the first was made twenty years ago).

Of course, the cochlear implant is not a solution for everyone. Proposal for the devices will give ENT specialists based on the numerous exams (from tone audiometry and evoked potentials to computed tomography of the inner ear). The parent is the one who must make an effort to gather as much information as needed and decide what is the best for his child. Paths to the implementation of the operation, which is related to the purchase of expensive equipment are complex.