COCHLEAR IMPLANT IMPLANTATION
Cochlear implant, what kind of device is it? Well, a cochlear (auditory) implant is an electronic hearing prosthesis implanted during surgery for people with deafness. It consists of 2 parts. Internal, the one under the skin and external (speech processor), i.e. the one you see.
When a child is born and all tests show a large hearing loss and even deafness, many people immediately think that his child will not develop verbal speech, and the only means of communication will be PJM (sign language).
Well, in fact, even in hearing aids with high hearing loss, the development of speech in such a child has a low chance of success. Fortunately, there is such a thing as a wonderful device called a cochlear implant. Thanks to it, children who are born deaf get a chance for a normal life in a world full of sounds. It is very important to make a quick diagnosis and early implantation. Children implanted up to the age of one have really great chances to catch up with their peers.
Already one implant, implanted in a small child undergoing systematic hearing rehabilitation, is really enough for the child to be able to learn to listen first and then to speak.
The child must first learn to use this device. Unfortunately, it does not work in such a way that it is ready to hear immediately after the operation. Every person going out of prolonged silence or darkness into a bright and loud room would experience shock. Therefore, this stimulation must be gradual. Implantation is just the beginning of the road in the world of sounds. The whole process takes about two years depending on the centers. After the brain is ready to receive sound stimuli and the initial settings, the first effects can already be observed. First, the child draws attention to the sounds of knocking, knocking and then the sounds of speech. This is of course an individual matter and it is different in every child. In some it goes faster, the other need more time. It should also be remembered that the child's auditory age is calculated from the time the speech processor is connected. This means that the one-year-old child after implantation begins to receive sounds at the level of the newborn. You can't expect that the child will to start speaking spontaneously. It will be great if after some time there appears a conscious babbling. You have to be patient and not let to be defeated by a failure. You have to be ready to get up after each fall and continue to act.
It is very important to raise the child's auditory education and that the processor is in place so that the child can enjoy optimal benefits. By implanting a cochlear implant, hearing is "repaired" only in half. The other half is auditory training, which every patient after surgery must undergo. This is a new situation for a person who has never heard or heard very little. Frustration and discomfort may arise due to stimuli suddenly reaching the brain. The patient must find himself out in this new situation. Both he and his loved ones must be determined to successfully pass the whole process. Systematic training and visits at the center to change programs and processor settings are key to auditory development. A unilaterally implanted child who is undergoing hearing and speech rehabilitation will develop verbal speech and will function well in society. Especially in the environment he knows. The problem may arise when you have to go into the world, even to school where understanding speech in noise and "catching" what a person from the crowd is saying can be a challenge. Here, a second implant would definitely help ...
The procedure for the second implant is similar. The fact that we already have unilateral hearing does not mean that the brain will immediately get used to receiving sounds on the other side and this does not absolve us from the obligation to rehabilitate the other ear. If we want to get real benefits from a second implant, we must go through the whole process again.
Why do we need a second cochlear implant? Just like two eyes, we also need two ears to properly receive the world around us. Binaural hearing improves human functioning. For a person implanted on both sides, speech understanding in noise, on a busy street, at school, in a restaurant or during a meeting with friends becomes more comfortable. Binaural hearing means also better sound localization. With one implant, this function is significantly impeded, being however extremely important in everyday functioning. Insofar a small child has time to think about where a given sound comes from - while being on a busy street we do not have time to wonder from which side you can hear, for example, an oncoming car. Moreover, having one implant, such a person uses more time and energy to process the information. With two implants we get double options. We hear better and more clearly. Early implantation of the second ear will allow the brain to quickly accept bilateral hearing and prevent the first ear from dominating. Besides, quick implantation of the second ear will also allow simultaneous bilateral rehabilitation.
However when deciding on a second implant, the double costs of maintaining the speech processor should be taken into account. These are also additional visits to the center to set up and program equipment. However, in the absence of a response in the hearing aid, this is ideal. The benefits of bilateral implantation are much greater and, despite the efforts encountered along the way, will give measurable results.