A cochlear implant consists of an external voice processor that is worn behind the ear like a hearing aid and the implant itself, which is surgically inserted into the abalone. The microphone, cable and coil voice processor converts sound vibrations into electrical signals. From these it encodes pulse patterns that are sent to the implant by radio waves or induction. The recipient of the implant decodes the signals and forwards them via an electrode into the cochlea. There, the electrical impulses stimulate the auditory nerve. It passes the signals to the brain, which processes the information like a natural acoustic event.
An intact auditory nerve and an intact central auditory pathway are the basic prerequisites for a cochlear implant. If the auditory nerve is destroyed, a so-called auditory brainstem implant may instead partially restore the hearing.
Unlike children, adults who have already been born deaf usually do not use cochlear implants. Your brain has never learned to recognize and interpret acoustic stimuli. Since it is already mature, it is unlikely that it can still provide the appropriate skills for a sound-language understanding.
The operation is always under general anesthesia. In a first step, the surgeon opens the skin behind the ear to rake out a depression in the now exposed skull bone. Here, too, the external speech processor is attached later. From there, he drills a canal to the middle ear, from where he creates an opening in the inner ear through another hole. Through this access he pushes the electrode into the cochlea. He anchors the actual implant in a separate bone bed behind the ear. During the operation, the cochlear implant is tested and the function of the auditory nerve is checked.
Cochlear implants open up many possibilities for those affected: they can communicate with their fellow human beings more easily and thus have (again) a greater share of the social encounters. The quality of life increases significantly after care with a cochlear implant. However, disadvantages and limitations should always be considered before surgery.
The cochlear implant surgery is already possible at a price from €6,000. Please send us your inquiry with a current x-ray image to get a detailed estimate cost.
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The fully anchored magnetic implant transmits the sounds transmitted by the external sound processor directly to the inner ear via the titanium-alloyed screw pin and bypasses the damaged areas in the outer and middle ear area. BAHA system carriers remain completely flexible, as the magnetically linked sound processor can be attached or removed as required. If the sound receiver is not worn - the size of a hands-free mobile phone headset - the rest of the device's components are completely invisible.
This factor is, according to the developers, an important advance of the BAHA system, because due to the magnetically coupled receiver system protrude - unlike older systems - no mechanical Anschraub- or Ansteckteile out of the skin. This in turn means a more discrete wearer feel and a lower risk of injury and infection at the puncture site in the skin.
Clinical tests have shown that the ear implant allows reliable hearing and understanding even in difficult soundscapes in the case of hearing damage in the outer and middle ear area. In addition, it should be possible in future to network the wireless device with additional functions - for example, to be able to make calls wirelessly using a special "telephone clip".
Nevertheless, the BAHA system is not suitable for any form of hearing damage. Only patients with injuries in the outer and middle ear area - e.g. due to inflammation or previous surgery - can be treated with the new technique, since the sound waves are only diverted with the BAHA system and the inner ear remains an important part of the sound recording.
In order to tap the BAHA system into the skull and to implant the round, internal magnetic plates under the skin, only a small intervention is required. Under general anesthesia, the skin is opened behind the damaged ear on an area of about five centimeters. The titanium-alloyed screw drills a surgeon one centimeter deep into the skull and connects the posterior pin area to the internal magnetic plate. Then the skin is re-sewn.
Overall, the procedure takes 40 minutes - the wounds are healed after two to four weeks. After that - as the doctors describe it - the patient gets his wireless sound processor and can hear it completely again.