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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.
Make sure that your child gets all of the required vaccines at least 2 weeks before cochlear implant surgery.
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 right after 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 sound signals travel to the brain through the auditory nerve. You and your child will work with a speech therapist after surgery to learn how to make the most of the implant.
Surgery can be stressful for both your child and 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: March 1, 2023
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Sarah Marshall MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Donald R. Mintz MD - Otolaryngology
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