toddler with cochlear implant

Cochlear implants have revolutionized hearing restoration, offering a new lease on life for individuals with severe to profound hearing loss. In a nutshell, they stay on with a combined external processor and internal implant. In this blog, the experts at Southern ENT Specialists explore the fascinating technology behind cochlear implants, how they are securely fitted, and the benefits they bring to users.

Cochlear Implant Basics

Cochlear implants are sophisticated electronic devices designed to provide a sense of sound to individuals who are profoundly deaf or severely hard of hearing. Unlike hearing aids, which amplify sound, cochlear implants bypass damaged portions of the ear and directly stimulate the auditory nerve. This is achieved through two main components:

  • External Processor: This part includes a microphone, speech processor, and transmitter. It captures sound from the environment, converts it into digital signals, and sends these signals to the internal implant.
  • Internal Implant: Surgically placed under the skin, this component includes a receiver and electrode array. It receives signals from the external processor and sends electrical impulses to the auditory nerve, which the brain interprets as sound.

How Do Cochlear Implants Stay On?

The external component of a cochlear implant must stay securely in place to ensure consistent sound processing. Here’s how this is achieved:

Magnetic Attachment

The external processor has a magnet that aligns with a corresponding magnet in the internal implant, which is placed under the skin during surgery. This magnetic connection securely keeps the external processor on the side of the head over the internal implant.

Custom Fit and Design

Cochlear implants are designed to fit comfortably and securely on the user’s head. The external processor is lightweight and ergonomically shaped to contour to the user's head, ensuring it stays in place during daily activities. Additionally, manufacturers offer processors of various sizes and styles to accommodate different head shapes and sizes.

Retention Accessories

For active users or those concerned about the device staying on during physical activities, headbands, clips, and ear hooks provide additional security and peace of mind. These accessories help keep the external processor in place, even during rigorous activities like sports or exercise.

Adhesive Strips

Some users prefer adhesive strips or pads to secure their cochlear implant’s external processor. These hypoallergenic adhesives are placed on the skin and help keep the device in position, especially for children or individuals with very active lifestyles.

Caring for Your Cochlear Implant

Proper care and maintenance are essential to ensure the longevity and optimal performance of a cochlear implant. Here are some of our top tips:

  • Clean the external processor regularly with a soft, dry cloth. Avoid using water or cleaning agents that could damage the device.
  • Ensure the batteries are fully charged and replace them as needed. Keeping spare batteries on hand can prevent unexpected power loss.
  • Cochlear implants are sensitive to moisture. To keep the device dry, use a dehumidifier or drying kit, especially after exposure to humidity or sweat.
  • Regular check-ups with your audiologist or Southern ENT Associates can help ensure the implant functions correctly and address any issues promptly.

Southern ENT Specialists are Here With Comprehensive Support for Cochlear Implant Patients

Cochlear implants are a marvel of modern medical technology, providing invaluable benefits to individuals with severe hearing loss. At Southern ENT Specialists, our ENT doctors and audiologists are committed to helping our patients understand and make the most of their cochlear implants. Understanding how these devices stay securely in place is just one step in appreciating their full potential.

If you have any questions or need support with your cochlear implant, our team is here to help you. Contact us today to learn more!

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