For several decades, the García-Ibáñez ENT Institute (Barcelona, Spain) has stood out as the reference otology center in cochlear implant surgeries.
In 1985 Dr. Emilio García-Ibáñez performed the first House 3M cochlear implant surgery in Spain.
Doctor Emilio García-Ibáñez is considered one of the best ENT specialists in the word. He has received the Certificate of Honor from the North American ENT Academy and awards of excellence from the American Neurotology Society and the Politzer Society.
In 2006, Dr. Luis García-Ibáñez implanted the first device completely hidden inside the ear of a 45-year-old patient who, due to a cholesteatoma, had lost a lot of hearing.
FAQ ABOUT COCHLEAR IMPLANTS:
Which patients can have cochlear implant surgery?
A cochlear implant is a small, complex electronic device that can help to provide a sense of sound to a person who is profoundly deaf or severely hard-of-hearing.
A cochlear implant is used in people in whom the conventional hearing aid is not useful and who have no other possibility of hearing recovery. Many of the so-called “nerve deafness” are cochlear lesions that can be recovered with a cochlear implant.
Implant does not restore normal hearing. Instead, it can give a deaf person a useful representation of sounds in the environment and help him or her to understand speech.
Can all deaf people carry a cochlear implant?
The cochlear implant is a hearing aid for some types of deafness. The medical team will assess each case individually. After a series of tests the medical team will inform the patient if he is a candidate to wear an implant.
What is a cochlear implant?
The cochlear implant is a device that is made up of internal and external parts.
The internal parts are implanted by clinical surgery with general anaesthesia.
The entire system, including the power battery, is placed inside the bone. The recharge in order to power the device is done through magnetic induction.
One hour at night is enough to complete the battery charge it lasts the whole day.
How does a cochlear implant work?
The cochlear implant is an electronic device capable of capturing the sound signal and transforming it into an electrical signal. Cochlear implants bypass damaged portions of the ear and directly stimulate the auditory nerve. Signals generated by the implant are sent by way of the auditory nerve to the brain, which recognizes the signals as sound.
Cochlear implant consists of two general components:
The Internal device: The internal portion consists of two parts: the receiver/stimulator and the intracochlear electrode array.
The external hardware: The external portion consists of three parts: a microphone, a speech processor, and a transmitting coil.
The external part is held together with the internal part by a magnet.
How is a cochlear implant inserted?
Surgery lasts approximately three hours. It is usually performed under general anaesthesia. The head is not to be shaved completely. Only the area where surgery is to be carried out is shaved. It does not entail greater risks than any other ontological microsurgery operation. Normally, cochlear implant surgery requires 2 or 3 days of hospitalization.
What is the rehabilitation process like after cochlear implant surgery?
Hearing through a cochlear implant is different from normal hearing and takes time to learn or relearn.
Rehabilitation is recommended for both children and adults before and after implantation.
When it comes to children it is important to do a hearing training prior to implantation. This training will help the child gain an auditory experience. It is recommended to do this training for a period of approximately six months.
After implantation, the patient will begin to hear after one month. Once the area has completely healed, the external parts of the device are connected. The adaptation of the external part is carried out. The cochlear implant is programmed by a computer and it is personalised according to the hearing needs of each patient.
The rehabilitation time after the cochlear implant surgery usually lasts between a period of 6 months and a year.
Once the cochlear implant has been programmed, rehabilitation exercises will continue. The role of the child’s parents or guardians is very important, since they will help the child acquire listening and language experiences outside the school environment. The speech therapist will guide them through such training.
In the case of adults, the family also plays an important role in the rehabilitation process. In the case of adults, rehabilitation is faster, since they generally already have hearing experience prior to hearing loss. The adult patient should keep in mind that although he will regain hearing, he will not hear as before the hearing loss.
Lip reading is also an important aspect in the rehabilitation of the implanted patient. There will be occasions, especially in noisy environments, in which they will have to resort to lip reading as support to communicate.
When does rehabilitation end after cochlear implant surgery?
It is one of the most frequently asked questions by patients. In the case of children, it is recommended that rehabilitation last the entire compulsory school stage. At the beginning of the implantation, five weekly sessions are made. The sessions will decrease as the child acquires more vocabulary and listening experiences. It will be the speech therapists, together with the teachers and parents who will make the decision to reduce the sessions according to the needs of each child.
In the case of adults, speech therapists will assess each case and decide how many sessions are necessary. At first, rehabilitation sessions are usually attended two to three times a week. According to its evolution, the number of sessions is reduced until the specialist considers that the patient can be discharged.
What results are obtained after cochlear implant surgery?
Since the first cochlear implant was performed approximately 50 years ago, the technique has been refined, allowing patients with profound or total deafness to join social and work life. Thanks to this type of implants, the patient recovers hearing to the point of being able to carry on a conversation in a fluid way. Some patients even manage to communicate with the phone.
What types of cochlear implants are there?
Cochlear implants are classified according to the number of electrodes (single or multichannel) and according to the location of the electrodes (extracochlear or intracochlear).
Today, we have sophisticated cochlear implants that provide the patient with a more realistic sensation of sounds.
Is it necessary to change the cochlear implant after a certain time?
The external parts of the cochlear implant undergo transformations to improve the product and its quality. Such transformations are related to the computer software with which implants are programmed, as well as their increasingly miniaturized size.
As for the internal parts, they may have to be replaced but in specific cases such as ruptures due to trauma or defective devices.
We must bear in mind that the cochlear implant is an electronic hearing aid, and as such, it undergoes important modifications over time (new, more precise and advanced models). For this reason, a re-implantation may have to be carried out over time, for example if it happens that the external parts of the implant (which have been updated) are no longer compatible with the internal parts.
What maintenance does a cochlear implant require?
The maintenance that an implant requires is simple. Great care must be taken with external parts to avoid damage or knocks. You must also take great care of the cable that connects the processor to the microphone since rubbing can break it. It is also convenient to clean the connection poles of the cells or batteries for proper functioning.
Can a cochlear implant be easily damaged?
In principle, the implant should not be damaged if there is no external cause to motivate it (knocks or misuses). Normally the part that suffers the most damage is the processor-microphone connection cable.
Are there any risks from bathing or swimming with the internal parts of the cochlear implant?
The risk exists only during the first few months after the operation when the scar is still fresh. During these first months you should avoid diving into the water.
Can an implanted patient play sports?
Sports are not restricted by the fact of wearing a cochlear implant. However, to avoid problems, it is advisable that the external parts of the cochlear implant be removed while practicing some type of sport. It is advisable not to perform any contact sports, since a blow to the internal part, would damage the cochlear implant.
Once implanted, can you differentiate between different voices?
As we advance in the rehabilitation, in the stimulation and programming of the cochlear implant, we will notice that the discrimination of the voices is clearer. The patient will be able to differentiate the timbres and intonations of the different voices, being able to differentiate each person.
Does a cochlear implant help tinnitus?
Unfortunately, the cochlear implant does not eliminate tinnitus. However, since the implanted patient receives more auditory information, the tinnitus can be masked to the point of becoming imperceptible.
I am a foreign patient. Will I have communication difficulties?
We have qualified staff who will accompany you throughout the hospital process. In case the doctor does not speak your language, we will offer you the possibility of having an interpreter.
How much does cochlear implant surgery cost?
How much is cochlear implant surgery?
The cost of a cochlear implant depends on several aspects. Our team will carefully analyze your request. If you want to receive a free quote without any commitment, please fill out this form and please attach examinations and medical reports carried out in other centers. This information is necessary to give you a suitable solution adapted to your needs. This information will always be kept in the strictest confidence.
WOULD YOU LIKE TO RECEIVE MORE INFORMATION ON THE GARCÍA-IBÁÑEZ ENT CLINIC (BARCELONA, SPAIN)?
You can also contact us on WhatsApp or Viber on the following phone number: + 34 657 460 421.
If you want a quote, please send a recent medical report.