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- Speech processor—The speech processor looks like a long, narrow calculator. It is worn behind the ear or on a belt. It increases sound, converts it into digital signals, and sends these signals to the transmitter.
- Transmitter—The transmitter is a headphone that is worn behind the ear. It receives electrical signals from the speech processor and sends them through the skin to the receiver.
- Receiver—The receiver is the part that is implanted. It is a magnetic disc about the size of a quarter. It is placed under the skin behind one ear. A wire that runs from the receiver to an electrode array that is placed in the inner ear, where it stimulates the nerves of the cochlea.
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Reasons for Procedure
- Damage to nearby nerves
- Problems with balance
- Emotional stress caused by having higher expectations for the technology
- Poor quality of hearing following the surgery
- Previous surgery
- Previous ear infections
- Abnormal inner ear anatomy
What to Expect
Prior to Procedure
- A medical history and physical exam
- Ear exam
- Hearing evaluation
- Psychological evaluation
- Talk to your doctor about your medications. You may be asked to stop taking some medications up to 1 week before the procedure.
- Arrange for a ride to and from the procedure.
- The night before, eat a light meal. Do not eat or drink anything after midnight.
Description of Procedure
- Implantation of receiver—A cut will be made in the skin behind the ear. A hole will be drilled through the bone behind the ear to the cochlea. A wire with the electrode array will be placed through the hole and into the cochlea. The receiver will then be put against the bone behind your ear. The wire will be attached to the receiver. The incision will be closed with stitches.
- External hook-up—In 4-6 weeks, the area should be healed. At this point, the transmitter headpiece and speech processor will be connected.
How Long Will It Take?
How Much Will It Hurt?
Average Hospital Stay
- Headpiece fitting, done 4-6 weeks after surgery
- Adjustments to the speech processor
- Ongoing evaluation of hearing status
- Identify sounds
- Read lips
- Develop speech skills
Call Your Doctor
- Severe headache
- Lightheadedness or vomiting
- Facial paralysis or twitching
- Signs of infection, including fever and chills
- Redness, swelling, increasing pain, excessive bleeding, or discharge at the incision site
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 06/2016
- Update Date: 05/23/2014