A cochlear implant is an electronic device that helps people with severe hearing loss. Although it does not treat deafness or restore hearing, it can help its users to better perceive sounds. For adults, a cochlear implant is typically recommended when traditional hearing aids are unhelpful. Children may also benefit from a cochlear implant if they are born deaf or do not fully develop auditory skills. Surgery to implant the device is called cochlear implant surgery.
Implantation begins with an incision behind the ear. The surgeon will make an opening in the portion of the ear responsible for hearing, called the cochlea. The internal portion of the implant is then placed under the skin and attached to the skull, and the incision is closed. Part of the device is placed externally, behind the ear, and connected to the internal portion by a magnet.
Cochlear implant surgery may take between one and four hours. Most patients may return home the same day or the following morning. After surgery, you will need to follow up with your doctor and specialists for fitting and programming of the device.