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A cochlear implant is a small electronic device that can help you hear if you have severe or total hearing loss. Your doctor made a cut, called an incision, behind your ear. He or she placed the implant in the inner ear. The implant does the job of the damaged or absent nerve cells that in a normal ear make it possible to hear (auditory nerves). A small device worn outside the ear turns on the implant. The implant may make a small bump under the skin behind your ear. Your hair may cover the scar, the bump, and the device worn outside your ear.
You may have mild to moderate pain in and around your ear and have a headache for a few days. You may have some popping or clicking in your ear and feel dizzy. This usually goes away within 1 week. The area behind your ear will be swollen for about 3 to 5 weeks. The incision will leave a scar that will fade with time.
The doctor will not turn on, or activate, the implant until the incision has healed. This is in about 3 to 6 weeks. Most people are able to return to work 1 to 2 weeks after surgery. Discuss what is best for you with your doctor. Your doctor may recommend that you work with a speech therapist to learn how to make the most of your implant.
This care sheet gives you a general idea about how long it will take for you to recover. But each person recovers at a different pace. Follow the steps below to get better as quickly as possible.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:
Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd
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Current as of: October 21, 2018
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.
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