Cochlear Implant

Deafness is on the rise worldwide for various reasons. In India, it is closely associated with noise pollution; neglecting infections of the ear (which people tend to treat with hot oil, rather than visit a doctor); mumps; German measles; diabetes; untreated shingles; side-effect of viral infections like influenza; meningitis; ototoxic drugs such as loop diuretics, gentamicin, or streptomycin; plain old age; structural deficiencies of the inner ear (cochlea); and cochlear damages caused by bomb blasts or accidents. The importance of the cochlea lies in its ability to convert sound waves into electrical impulses which it sends to the brain to interpret. If there have been any damages to the nerve cells in it, or the fine hair, then hearing problems ensue which can’t be corrected by using a hearing aid. A cochlear implant is neuroprosthetic device which is set behind your outer ear to help your inner ear function properly, and second portion which is surgically set inside the skin. Though many people think this only for the not so young and the elderly, it can be quite useful if a year old child who seems to be deaf, or very hard of hearing, is given an implant. It will positively impact the child’s learning of the language, and development of communication skills when she/he gets to hear and identify sounds. Since the doctor won’t turn on the device till the incision heals, expect to begin benefitting from it after three weeks to a month. Remember, millions visit India to receive medical treatment.