What is a cochlear implant and how to obtain one in the province of Quebec

Written by Hany Ghonaim

Nov 24, 2018

WHAT IS A COCHLEAR IMPLANT

This is a device used for individuals with profound permanent sensorineural hearing loss related to loss of function in the cochlea. It requires specialized hearing tests and a thorough medical investigation to ensure an individual’s admissibility for a cochlear implant. A cochlear implant candidate must undergo and pass rigorous admission criteria to warrant the implant’s demanding surgery procedure and hearing training process.

In the province of Québec, the CHUQ is the only institution that can undergo the surgical procedure required for planting the cochlear implant. For more information about the CHUQ and cochlear implant procedure in Quebec, please visit their website here.

HOW DOES A COCHLEAR IMPLANT WORK

Sound is captured by the microphone of the processor which analyses and transforms the sound waves into an electrical predetermined code. This information is sent to the antenna that transmits radio frequencies to be collected by the receiver-stimulator placed beneath the skin. The electrical signals are lead to the electrodes placed inside the cochlea in order to stimulate the auditory nerve. Hence, nervous impulses caused by sound waves are created without any active participation from the cochlea.

REHABILITATION PROCESS

Although electrical impulses caused by sound waves are delivered to the brain by the implant, a demanding hearing training process is required to ensure proper hearing. The sounds heard with the implant do not sound exactly the same as the ones produced by the natural hearing system. In cases where an adult receives a cochlear implant after his hearing has suddenly or progressively deteriorated, he must learn how to hear differently with the implant. When it is a child that has a congenital hearing loss that receives the implant, he must also receive proper hearing training to ensure functional hearing.

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