Wondering how much would a cochlear implant cost? If you are planning to undergo surgery for implanting this electronic device, here’s some information about this surgical procedure and the costs involved.
The human ear is the sensory organ that enables us to hear sounds. Our ability to perceive sounds is dependent on the collective working of the various specialized structures that are present inside the ear. While some people may have impaired hearing or deafness at the time of birth, some may suffer from hearing loss with age. Under such circumstances, the affected individuals would need hearing aids that would amplify sounds and help them hear.
The degree of hearing loss may vary which is why hearing aids might not work for all. For instance, hearing aids may not provide much assistance to people suffering from profound sensorineural deafness. A cochlear implant, which is a small, complex electronic device which provides direct electrical stimulation to the auditory nerve, emerges to be a viable option for such people. Though this surgery doesn’t restore normal hearing, it helps people identify sounds and communicate in a better way.
How Does a Cochlear Implant Work
This electronic device consists of two parts. While the external part is positioned behind the ear, the internal part is surgically placed under the skin. The microphone does the work of picking up sound signals from the environment. The task of the selection as well as the arrangements of the sounds is done by the speech processor. The speech processor send the signals to the transmitter. When the receiver/stimulator gets these signals, these are converted into electric impulses. A group of electrodes gathers these impulses from the collector. These are then sent into the different regions of the auditory nerve.
Once the auditory nerve is stimulated, the signals are sent to the brain. The brain recognizes these signals as sound. Thus, unlike the hearing aid which simply amplifies the sounds, these implants can improve one’s hearing ability. It can be used by elderly people who seem to have lost most of their hearing. These can also be used to help young children suffering from profound deafness. These implants can help them acquire speech and language skills. To use such an implant, one would need only have to undergo a surgery, but also receive an intensive post-implantation therapy. Since this surgery will cost you a lot of money, do find out all about the pros and cons of these implants before you make a decision.
Cost of Cochlear Implant Surgery
The cost of this surgery is quite high, so if you wish to have this device surgically implanted, find out if you are a suitable candidate for this surgery. A team of doctors including surgeons, speech therapists and audiologists will run a series of tests that include audiologic testing, psychological testing, imaging procedures, physical examination and counseling.
Doctors also need to have sessions with the family of the candidate in order to determine if they will be able to handle the post-implant care. It is important to realize that this implant will not restore normal hearing. You will need to learn to relate the signal provided by an implant with sounds. This requires practice, but with time, the recipients will be able to understand speech solely by listening through the device. You will not be dependent on visual cues or sign language.
How much would a cochlear implant cost? This surgically implanted electronic device is certainly more expensive than hearing aids. The total cost includes the pre-operative costs, surgical costs and post-operative costs. Expenses might be incurred on medical and audiological evaluations, CT scan and other tests prior to the surgery. Along with these, you will have to pay for the device. Surgical costs would include the charges for implantation along with the hospitalization charges. Post-operative costs include programming the device. Taking into consideration all these expenses, the total cost will range from $50,000 to $100,000. If you have been thinking of undergoing this surgery, make sure that you find out all about the risks involved.
Some of the drawbacks include increased vulnerability to meningitis, face numbness, tinnitus and vertigo. Some might not like the idea of wearing the device all the time. Since these implants cost a lot, you must not make the decision in haste.
These surgically implanted devices might be of assistance to both children and adults. It will help them identify sounds and communicate with others, but do find out all about the benefits and risks of these implants. This surgery will cost you a lot, so take a well-informed decision.