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Pros & Cons of Cochlear Implants

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Cochlear implants can improve your hearing, but to have them fitted requires surgery, and so there are a number of risks. Cochlear implants are different to hearing aids in that they are inside the ear and they don’t just amplify sounds; they convert acoustic sounds into electrical pulses which stimulate the auditory nerve. Clearly, everyone’s hearing starts to fade as they get older, which is why cochlear plants are largely reserved for younger individuals, since they will get the most benefit. Cochlear implants certainly aren’t for everyone.

Pros of cochlear implants

There are obvious benefits that relate to your ability to do everyday things. You can have a conversation with someone without having to lip read or using sign language. This is useful when you’re talking to someone who isn’t hearing impaired and doesn’t understand sign language. You can use devices such as telephones, without having to buy specialize equipments; you can listen to music and watch television without using subtitles. These are all activities which most people take for granted, but which you really value when you are hard of hearing. Cochlear implants can increase your confidence in social situations, because you’re no longer ‘different’.

Cons of cochlear implants

However, there are also some negative aspects of choosing to have cochlear implants fitted. There is a chance you could suffer complications, resulting in facial numbness and tinnitus, for instance. You may develop a staph infection which leads to paralysis. Depending on the age you receive your cochlear implants, you could find that the outcome is not as good as expected. If you get cochlear implants fitted later in life, rather than as a young child as your brain may have difficulty converting electronic signals into understandable language.

Cochlear implants are expensive

Cochlear implants can be rather expensive, especially if you don’t have the right medical insurance, and even if you can afford the implant, you may not be eligible anyway, especially if you have a medical condition which affects your brain.

Limitation that comes with cochlear implants

Static, which you may encounter when using computers, can interfere with the implant, while you may be advised to give up certain activities, such as football and scuba diving, as these could damage the implant.

Additional cost

Cochlear implants require maintenance and sometimes need replacing. This means extra cost, more inconvenience and discomfort once again when you have the surgery. Even if you could afford the initial surgery, you may find that the associated costs start to mount up and that you can’t really afford cochlear implants. Plus, if you have grown up as deaf and this is all you know, you may feel alienated from the deaf community and that you are no longer sure of your identity. Cochlear implants might seem like a good solution for a hearing problem, but there are other details you need to consider before choosing this option, which may not be quite as positive.