Getting a cochlear implant
STEP 1: Assessment
The aim of the assessment is to find out if a person is a suitable candidate for a cochlear implant. This involves:
- Assessment by an audiologist.
- CT and MRI scans.
- Speech and language assessment (children).
- Consultation with an Ear-Nose-Throat Specialist.
- Possible other investigations that may be necessary.
- Once the assessment has been concluded a decision on whether or not to proceed with the implant will be made between the patient and the TH-US-CIU clinical team.
STEP 2: Surgery
The surgery is performed under general anaesthesia. The surgeon makes a small incision behind the ear and inserts the internal device. The audiologist performs detailed testing at the time of surgery to test the function of the implant and response of the hearing nerve to electrical stimulation. This helps to ensure the best hearing outcome is achieved from the implant. Most patients are able to go home on the day or the day after the surgery.
STEP 3: Activation- Beginning to listen with the implant
TH-US-CIU offers comprehensive support following the operation:
- Initial fitting of the external device and activation/switch on of the cochlear implant occurs approximately four weeks after surgery by the Audiologist.
- In the first 4-8 weeks very regular (at least weekly) cochlear implant programming (mapping) occurs. This is tailored to the patient’s hearing and lifestyle needs.
- Listening and communication practice using the implant will allow faster adjustment to the new sound.
- TH-US-CIU provides support for family and other professionals involved to allow most benefit from the new listening experience.
STEP 4: Support for life
TH-US-CIU provides ongoing, lifelong support for the cochlear implant user and family. This includes:
- Programming (mapping) of the device at regular intervals. This is a lifelong process.
- Ongoing assessments in order to monitor progress.
- Troubleshooting any problems you have with your device.
- Supply of loan equipment where required.
- Communicating with medical aids on behalf of candidates.
- Keeping you abreast of the newest technology available.
- Linking with other professionals involved in providing the best ongoing care where indicated
TH-US-CIU regularly reviews the technology and the selection criteria used internationally, to ensure that the latest developments are available for candidates and cochlear implant users.