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Cochlear Implant Surgery in India
What is cochlear implant?
Cochlear implant is recommended to people who have lost hearing or can barely hear. It is a device that provide sound for people who receive little or no benefit from hearing aid. For adults and children who suffer from severe hearing loss, hearing aid may not be enough to allow the ears to process the sound. A cochlear implant may be more successful and effective than hearing aid in some cases, it is so because cochlear implant directly stimulates the hearing nerve. Disease or obstruction involving the ear canal, eardrum or middle ear, may impair conductive hearing. Medical or surgical treatment can correct this or a hearing aid can be used in certain patients. An inner ear problem however can result in a sensorineural impairment or nerve deafness.
Treatment for cochlear implant surgery can be very expensive in several parts of the world. These days India is growing in the healthcare sector and is being known for its world class facilities at hospitals. India can profoundly boast about the number of efficient hospitals with prominent doctors giving the treatment at affordable charges as compared to other countries. Cochlear implant surgery in India is available at lower rate if compared to the developed countries.
Cochlear implant is a device that is designed with a very particular goal to provide sound detection and speech recognition to people who receive very less or no hearing facility from hearing aid. A hearing aid is provided in terms of speech and language development in a prelingual deafness and hearing and understanding of speech in postlingual patients. Best cochlear implant surgeons are required for the proper understanding of the requirement and implanting the device for best results. Cochlear implant surgery in India is performed at some of the best known hospitals with highly experienced medical professionals.
Three main parts of the implant:
Sound processor: The processor receives sound from the environment and converts them into digital signal.
Coil: It received digital signal from the processor with the internal implant.
Electrode array: The group of electrodes collects the impulses from the stimulator and sends them to different regions of the auditory nerve or cochlear.
Age: Patients above the age of 2 years can go for cochlear implant surgery in India. People with older age may show variable results of the surgery.
Hearing loss: The implants can be of help if you have moderate to profound hearing loss in both ears and receive little or no benefit from hearing aids. This might be a solution if your score is 50% or little less than that on sentence recognition tests performed by specialist doctors or hearing professionals in the ear to be implanted. Another criteria, can be if your score is 60% or less than that, on sentence recognition tests in the ear with no-implants or with hearing aids.
Going for hearing tests like an audiogram can help the doctors determine the condition of your ear and its receptivity to the implant. The audiogram is a test that helps determine how you respond to specific sounds with the help of a graph
Checking for infections: A thorough examination of your inner, external or middle ear to check for any infections. A doctor can also perform scans like CT scans or MRI scans in order to ascertain the condition of inner ear and the hearing nerve. As a result of which the doctors can determine if your cochlea is in a normal shape or not.
Mental or psychological willingness: A psychological willingness to undergo the implant helps in getting acquainted with the process of speech and language therapy after the implant. If the patient has the strength and determination of the mind to undergo the implant the process becomes highly simplified.
Improved Sentence understanding: Research shows that persons with a cochlear implant can achieve around of 80% sentence understanding on an average. This when compared with just 10% of sentence understanding that comes with hearing aids.
Better communication: In the world where everything revolves around communication a cochlear implant surgery in India can impart an individual with the right confidence to interact and communicate freely.
Improved Focus and feel secure: The fact that one cannot hear leads to a disconnect with the world, a cochlear implant helps you to focus better despite the clutter and noise around you. Which in turn, leads to a feeling of safety and content in the heads of the recipient.
Ofcourse, the above benefits can vary from person to person. It is often because of the factors when the hearing loss is diagnosed and at what stage before receiving an implant. The time span for which the patient is suffering from hearing loss and the severity of the same will determine the benefits and effectiveness of implant. How sound is the condition of their cochlea is another very pertinent question that affects the way forward for any patient. Another important factor is the flexibility to adapt and adopt the use of cochlear implant system in the daily life.
Stages involved in the implant:
1. Preoperative procedure:
Cochlear implant surgery in India has the following assessments for deciding the procedure:
(i) Otologic Evaluation: Examination of ear canal and middle of the ear for check the infection or any other issue that may prevent the surgery procedure is the part of this evaluation.
(ii) Physical examination: This is important examination as the doctors need to know the physical capacity of the patient to handle the general anaesthesia during the surgery.
(iii) Audiologic evaluation: The audiolost performs an extensive examination on the ears to understand the hearing loss, percentage of the loss and cause of it.
(iv) Radiographic evaluation: Special x-rays are taken to evaluate the ear anatomy. CT scan and magnetic resonance imaging scans are also advised.
2. During the surgery:
Cochlear implant surgery in India is usually performed as a Minimal Invasive Technique - VERIA procedure under general anaesthesia. The surgery is conducted under general anesthesia that lasts for 2 to 3 hours. Mostly patients are discharged on the same day of operation, in certain cases the doctor may discharge on the next day. An incision is made behind the ear and a seat is made in the bone to soft cover implant package and protect it. To identify the cochlea, mastoid bone is opened and a tiny opening is made in it. The electrode array is placed into the cochlea with the help of that opening. This is called cochleostomy.
3. After surgery care:
Rehabilitation and speech therapy:
After four weeks of the surgery, speech processor and microphone externally. The activation and programming is performed at the hospital. Duration of the procedure is variable. The patient cannot hear immediately after the surgery. External transmitter is needed which is attached during the first programming session after a month.
Outcomes of Cochlear Implant Surgery in India
Cochlear implant surgery in India is mostly successful all the time. The vast majority of patient receiving cochlear implants use them successfully. The perception of sound after implantation may seem different initially from what they remember (for patient who lost their hearing after learning to speak).
While many factors affect outcomes for children, generally the younger the child, the greater is the potential benefit to speech and language development. The type of communication and education a child receives plays a vital role in the development.
Reimplantation for upgrade to newer technology:
Yes, reimplantation is possible for upgrading to a new or better technology. The reimplantation involves upgrading a single channel to a multichannel device. The success rate is pretty fair though their lies a very little risk. Hearing outcomes are as good as or better than the initial cochlear implantation with no significant complication as reported by the best cochlear implant surgeons. Cochlear implant surgery in India also offers reimplantation packages at speciality hospitals.
Cochlear implant surgery for kids
It is a boon for infants because, cochlear implant surgery in India can be performed on children with hearing loss as young as 12 months old. Doctors believe an early implantation can help children and expose them to sounds right at the beginning, the most crucial period of linguistic adaptability.
Language acquisition as a process can be simplified by an earlier diagnosis followed by an implant. Because, even a very minimal amount of hearing loss can affect the learning and behavioural tendencies of a kid which can in turn limit the future possibilities of the child.
Implants are always followed by intense speech therapy and language sessions to acquaint the child’s body and also the parents with the understanding of cochlear implant systems.
Hence, if the doctor suggests a cochlear implant for a child, it is advisable to undergo an early intervention. Because, it can help the child develop in a holistic way without feeling any sort of loss of self confidence. They can participate in normal day to day activities with their peers just like any other kid without hearing disabilities.
Cochlear implant cost has now been reduced to INR 4,00,000(USD 6300) from INR 11,50,000(USD 17200) earlier. As a result, patients from other countries prefer to come to India to get cochlear implant device. One important thing to note here is that cost of cochlear implant surgery in India is different from cochlear implant cost. The cochlear implant cost in India may vary between INR 4,00,000 (USD 6000) and INR 6,50,000 (USD 10000). On the other hand, it may cost four to five times more in any other country. Cochlear implant cost in US is around INR 64,000,00 (USD 1,00,000).
Since, the Government of India has been quite instrumental in bringing down the cost of ear implants for hearing loss. This is true for both hearing aid implants and cochlear implant device in India . Hence, the Cochlear Implant surgery in India is almost 60-70% less as compared to the United States, UK, Germany, France and other countries of Europe as well as countries like Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, Egypt, Iraq, Bangladesh making India the country with lowest surgery and treatment cost in the world.
Charges of cochlear implant surgery in India include:
Audio-gram, MRI and CT,Blood,Sugar tests- INR 19,000–20,000 (USD 300-350).
Cochlear Implant device: Nucleus C124 ST Processor - INR 5,30,000 (USD 8100) (Mind you, this is the most basic CI device you would get. Nucleus Kanso, which is the high end device available today, costs you INR 13,50,000 (USD 21,000).
Operation costs- INR 1,25,000 (USD 1900).
Mapping, Fitting costs: INR 20,000 (USD 300)
Speech Therapy costs- Anywhere between INR 20,000 (USD 300) to 50,000 (USD 750) depending on the number of sessions you want to undergo. So, the total cost for the entire process will be anywhere between Rs. 7 to 11 Lakhs depending on the place and hospital.
Choose a surgeon for your cochlear implant surgery in India with us. The best Cochlear implant surgeons in India are Dr. Geeta Nandkishore, Dr. Sreenivasa Murthy, Dr. Santosh S, Dr. Athria Ramkrishnan to name a few. We can give a list of the best surgeons in different cities while you plan your treatment.
The Hospitals with the best facility of cochlear implant surgery in India are Fortis, Columbia Asia, Wockhardt Hospitals among others.
Furthermore, with skilled and experienced doctors and medical staffs operating with the most effective and advanced medical technology and advanced equipment India should definitely be the first preference for medical tourists to get cochlear implant in India.
Cochlear implant surgery in India is best performed at the following Hospitals: