Image of the inner ear showing the cochleaWhen hearing loss gets so severe in both ears from nerve damage that conventional hearing aids are unable to offer much benefit to hearing, you may be a candidate for the cochlear implant. 

The cochlear implant is an electronic device that consists of an array of electrodes bound together and inserted into the hearing part of the inner ear (called the cochlea) under general anesthesia as outpatient surgery. The electrode array backs into a thin microprocessor and magnet that is contained underneath the skin behind the ear.  An outer device is worn behind the ear that transfers power and a processed sound signal across the skin by radiofrequency waves.

The cochlear implant has been available to adults and children since the early 1990s, and there are over 100,000 cochlear implant recipients worldwide.  The cochlear implant has revolutionized the way hearing loss is treated, and the history of the cochlear implant’s development is a story of creative surgeons, engineers, and scientists committed to allowing the deaf to hear.

Determining who is a candidate for the cochlear implant requires evaluation from Dr. Eisen and a special set of hearing tests by the audiologist.  Aside from the surgical procedure to implant the device, a key component to success for a cochlear implant recipient is learning to hear with the implant, which can require regular visits to the audiologist.

Post Discharge Instructions

What might you expect following surgery?

Dizziness
Dizziness may occur following surgery. Swelling in the inner ear usually causes this. You may not notice the dizziness until 2-3 days following surgery. This is when the swelling is the greatest. If you are not bleeding, do not have gastric ulcers, and are not allergic to ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil, Nuprin) you may take 2- 200 mg tablets every 4-6 hours. This will help the swelling as well as ease any pain. Avoid sudden movements; stand up slowly.

Drainage or discharge
A bloody or watery discharge is expected during the healing process. Call Dr. Eisen’s office for a yellow or green discharge or excessive discharge. Discharge with foul odor should also be reported.

Pain
You will be given a prescription for a pain medication, which may be taken for the first several days after surgery. Mild, intermittent ear pain is not unusual during the first 2 weeks after surgery. Pain above or in front of the ear is common when chewing. If you have persistent ear pain not relieved by a regular dose of Tylenol or Advil after the first several days, call your doctor’s office.

In case of emergency, call the office at (860) 493-1950.