CLEVELAND — Today is International Cochlear Implant Day, and doctors here in Cleveland are dedicating it to raising awareness and clearing up any misconceptions about the hearing devices.
A cochlear implant is a small electronic device that electrically stimulates the cochlear nerve for hearing. The external part sits behind the ear - picking up sounds with a microphone and transmits it to the internal part.
The technology has come a long way in the last 30 to 40 years, but more than 95%of people who would qualify for the device do not have one.
“Many people have the misperception that cochlear implants are a last resort and that you have to wait until you've lost all of your hearing, or you have no benefit from a hearing aid whatsoever. In reality, we know that cochlear implants actually help people even more when they still have some residual natural hearing to utilize,” said Dr. Sarah Sydlowski, audiology director, Cleveland Clinic.
Sydlowski says she's come across many patients who also don't realize it's a simple outpatient procedure—not a major brain surgery—with patients of any age in and out in one day. It can also be done for just one ear; it doesn't have to be both.
“And so, I love being by their side after they've had surgery, when they're able to come back to a couple of weeks later. And we turn around on for the first time, and I could share so many stories of where people are in tears because they realize that their future looks so different than it did just a few minutes earlier,” Sydlowski said.
If you have any questions—be sure to talk to your doctor. A vast majority of insurance plans, including Medicare, will cover the costs of the procedure.
CLICK HERE for more information from the Cleveland Clinic on its Hearing Implant Program
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