A cochlear implant is a small electronic device. It can help with hearing for a child with severe or total hearing loss. The implant does the job of damaged or missing nerve cells. A small device worn outside the ear turns on the implant.
The doctor will make a cut (incision) behind your child's ear. The doctor will place the implant in the inner ear. The incision will leave a scar that will fade with time. The implant may make a small bump under the skin behind the ear. Your child's hair may cover the scar, the bump, and the device worn outside the ear.
Most children go home the same day of the surgery or the next day. They can go back to school or daycare in 1 week and normal activities in 3 to 4 weeks.
Your child's hearing will not change as soon as he or she has surgery. The change won't happen until the implant is turned on 3 to 6 weeks later. This gives the ear time to heal.
A cochlear implant can improve how well your child understands speech and speaks. It will not give your child normal hearing. How well your child's implant works depends on many things. These include how long your child has been unable to hear and how well his or her auditory nerves work. You and your child will work with a speech therapist after surgery to learn how to make the most of the implant.
Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.
Surgery can be stressful both for your child and for you. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for your child's surgery.
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Current as of: July 29, 2016
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
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