Steps to Getting An Implant
1) Candidacy. Find out if you are a candidate for a cochlear implant. An evaluation at a cochlear implant center – a facility that specializes in cochlear implants – can determine if you are a candidate. Cochlear implant treatment has rapidly advanced over the years. It’s important to be seen by specialists whose primary focus is cochlear implants before assuming you are or are not a candidate for this remarkable technology.
2.) Surgery. If the outcome of all the audiological and medical tests at your cochlear implant center establishes that you are a candidate, your next step is to schedule surgery. The surgery takes two to four hours and is performed under general anesthesia. During the operation, the surgeon makes a small incision behind the ear. The electrode array is placed within the inner ear, and an area is created for the implant. Most people go home the same day or next day after surgery, and resume work and typical daily activities within a few days. Your cochlear implant team will prepare you for surgery, and may also put you in touch with other cochlear implant recipients who can share their experiences with you.
3.) Activation. Two to four weeks after surgery, your implant will be activated. This is the beginning of the exciting process of hearing with your implant, and everyone’s experience is different. For people with longstanding hearing loss, the brain needs time to re-learn to interpret sounds. What things sound like at your initial programming session is probably not what they’ll sound like in time after you’ve had experience listening and practicing with your implant. Your cochlear implant team and the manufacturer of your implant device can provide you with support and resources to help you along your hearing journey.
4.) Getting the most out of your implant. Rehabilitation, practice and repeated use are essential components of maximizing outcomes with cochlear implants. Patience, perseverance and a positive attitude, along with the expertise of your cochlear implant team will help ensure you get the most benefit.
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