Can Deaf People Benefit from Cochlear Implants?
Some people suffer from a
deafness problem that cannot be corrected. Fortunately, there
is a way to make them hear sounds.
This is where cochlear implants come
along. This device is surgically planted and instead of
amplifying sounds which hearing aids do, it stimulates the
functioning auditory nerves inside the cochlea
with an electric field stimulated through
an electric impulse.
This implant consists of many small parts. These include a
microphone, speech processor and an RF transmitter. Not that
many people have undergone this procedure because it is very
expensive and there are still other options available before
this will be utilized.
But is it worth the money? Most of the patients who have
undergone cochlear implant say so because although you get
almost near to normal hearing.
A study has shown that adults who have had cochlear implants
benefit almost immediately and their hearing improves quite
rapidly after the first 6 months of tuning sessions. This is
not the same for children because it will take them more time
to adjust to the implant.
The device helps them distinguish different types of sound
and understand speech without the need to lip read. In fact a
surprising number are able to use the telephone.
The only limitation to cochlear implants is that background
noise is still present and this will interfere with the
person’s ability to understand. When this happens, he or she
has to rely more on speech or lip reading instead of this
This is why doctors say that although there are benefits to
cochlear implants, to what degree really depends on the
patient. These factors depend on auditory memory, exposure to
sound before hearing was lost, shorter period of deafness
before surgery, the condition of the cochlea and the auditory
Once the device has been implanted, the patient has to visit
the clinic regularly for the first 6 months to adjust the
volume and to make sure that everything is working. If a child
was the one who underwent the cochlea implant, they will need
to develop their listening and speech skills compared to
So what is the price tag for a cochlear implant? The cost
could go from $40,000 to $100,000. This depends where it was
performed and who was the specialist in charge of the
operation. Money should not be an issue anymore given that most
third party health insurance health plants now cover a certain
percentage for those who need a cochlear implant.
The cochlear implant is the only device to date that can
help people who have permanent deafness problems. In fact,
research is now ongoing to see if this can also help people
with other types of hearing loss.
In the US alone, 23,000 adults and 15,500 children have
received them. Most of the children who had this were between
two to six years of age but the age requirement was lowered in
2000 making it possible for even a one year old to undergo the
There is no doubt that someone who is deaf or is suffering
from a permanent deafness problem will benefit from a cochlear
implant. You might even call it “life-changing” given that you
are given second chance to hear again the different sounds that
life has to offer.