SUNOH - Cochlear Implant Programme

SUNOH - Cochlear Implant Programme

Cochlear implants are electronic devices that improve hearing. They are used for hearing loss treatment for those having severe hearing loss from damage to the inner ear and can’t hear properly with hearing aids. Unlike hearing aids that work by amplifying sounds, cochlear implants bypass damaged parts of the ear so that sound signals are delivered to the auditory nerve.

Cochlear implants are equipped with a sound processor that is placed behind the ear. This processor receives sound signals and directs those to a receiver that fits under the skin behind the ear. The signals are sent by the receiver to the electrodes implanted in cochlea (the snail-shaped inner ear). The auditory nerve is stimulated by the signals, which are then directed to the brain. Those are then interpreted as sounds by the brain, though these sounds won’t be like natural hearing.

Learning to interpret signals received from a cochlear implant takes time and training. Most people with cochlear implants make considerable progress in understanding speech within 3-6 months of use.

Cochlear implants aid people with severe hearing loss by improving hearing in them. These are people who are no longer aided by hearing aids. Cochlear implants help improve their quality of life by enhancing communication. Cochlear implants may be unilateral (placed in one ear) or bilateral (placed in both ears). At first, adults usually have one hearing aid and one cochlear implant. Then, they may progress to having two cochlear implants as the hearing loss advances in the hearing aid ear.

Oftentimes in children with severe bilateral hearing loss, cochlear implants are placed in both ears at the same time, especially in infants and children who are learning to speak and process language. Children aged 6-12 years and adults of any age can benefit from using cochlear implants.

Benefits of cochlear implants

Those having cochlear implants have reported improved:

  • Recognition of environmental sounds in everyday life.
  • Ability to hear speech without having the need for visual cues like reading lips.
  • Ability to determine where sounds are coming from.
  • Ability to listen to speech in a noisy environment.
  • Ability to hear music, television programs, and telephonic conversations.
  • Relief from symptoms of buzzing or ringing in the implanted ear.

To be eligible for a cochlear implant, you should have:

  • Limited benefit from hearing aids as found out by specialised hearing tests.
  • Hearing loss interrupting spoken communication.
  • Motivation to participate in hearing rehabilitation programs and form a part of the hearing world.
  • Realistic expectations of what cochlear implants can and can’t do for hearing.

The surgery for cochlear implant is performed under general anaesthesia. It means that you or your baby will be in a sleep-like state while the procedure is being performed. The following instructions may be given before the surgery:

  • Avoid drinking or eating for a certain period of time.
  • Stop taking certain medications including supplements for a certain period of time.
  • Your surgeon will help you with specific instructions to help you prepare.

Before the procedure

You will have to undergo a detailed medical evaluation to help find out if cochlear implants are a good option for you. The evaluation that healthcare providers will conduct may include:

  • Physical examination to assess anatomy and health.
  • Tests for speech, hearing, and sometimes balance.
  • CT or MRI imaging tests of the skull to assess the condition of the cochlea and the inner ear structures.
  • External unit of cochlear implant and charger.
  • External transmitter and sound processor of cochlear implant.

You will be working with a healthcare professional trained in assessing and rehabilitating hearing loss and related problems (an audiologist) and your surgeon to help find out the cochlear implant type that best suits your needs. All cochlear implants have internal and external parts. Your options include:

  • An internal cochlear implant having an external sound processor that can fit behind the ear. The transmitter attaches to the side of the head.
  • An internal cochlear implant having an external unit that fits to the side of the head. The external unit also has a microphone, a speech processor, and a transmitter in one device. It can be charged whenever required.

During the procedure

The surgeon will make a tiny incision or cut behind the ear and create a small hole in the part of the skull bone where the internal device rests. Then he will create a small opening in the cochlear so that the electrode of the internal device can be threaded. The incision is then closed with the help of sutures so that the internal device lies beneath the skin.

After the procedure

For a while, the patient might experience:

  • Nausea or dizziness.
  • Discomfort or pressure over the ear that has the device implanted.
  • Most people feel ok to return home on the day of the surgery.
  • The device will be turned on by an audiologist.


For activation of the cochlear implant, an audiologist will:

  • Check all the components of the device to make sure it is working properly.
  • Adjust the sound processor to suit the needs of the patient.
  • Determine what sounds the patient hears.
  • Provide some information on the proper care and use of the cochlear implant.
  • Set the device so that you can hear sounds to the best of your ability.


Rehabilitation involves training your brain to listen to comprehend the sounds heard through the cochlear implant. Everyday environment noises including speech will be heard differently from what you remember. Your brain requires some time to identify what these sounds mean. The process keeps going on and is best achieved by continuously wearing the speech processor during waking hours.

Regular follow-ups visits for the whole lifetime helps check the program on the device and perform auditory testing that can help you derive the most benefit from your cochlear implants.


The results of the cochlear implant surgery are not the same for every patient. They vary from person to person as they depend on different factors including age of hearing loss, length of the time between the hearing loss and the surgery. Children who are born with significant hearing loss get the best results if the cochlear implant is used from a young age. On the other hand, adults get the best results if the hearing loss before the cochlear implant is associated with a shorter period. Adults who have no or little experience with sounds tend to derive lesser benefit from cochlear implants, even though both adult groups generally improve post-cochlear implantation. Consult our Audiology Clinic for the best cochlear implant surgery in Indore.

Following are some predicted outcomes after cochlear implant surgery:

  • Improved tinnitus: Even though the ringing ear noise is not the main reason for getting a cochlear implant, the implant suppresses or improves the condition to some extent.
  • Clearer hearing: Many people meeting the hearing criteria for implantation of a cochlear device may eventually derive clearer hearing by using the device.

A cochlear implant is a safe medical-electronic device that has been approved by FDA for providing an enhanced sound perception by bypassing the missing or damaged hair cells and directly stimulating the auditory nerve. It is a high performance and effective solution for those who have severe to profound sensorineural hearing loss.

A cochlear implant has two parts - external processor and internal implant. The internal implant is implanted surgically by an ENT specialist and after 3-4 weeks, the external processor is switched on by an audiologist where the implantee hears through the cochlear implant for the first time. After that, the complete post-cochlear implant rehabilitation programme starts.

If you are looking for the best doctors for ENT treatment in Indore, you can visit Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital. The Department of ENT at Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital, Indore boasts a team of experienced otolaryngologists who work in collaboration with allied trained medical professionals to determine treatment plans best suited to the patient's condition. The treatment and care are provided in accordance with international standards using the most advanced technology. Equipped with state-of-the-art machines and pioneering technology, the department offers comprehensive services to treat simple and complex conditions of the head and neck, nose, throat, and ear under one roof.

The team at Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital, Indore consists of audiologists and ENT surgeons who run the clinic. We are also empanelled under the ADIP scheme under the Government of India’s Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment. This helps the deserving patients to get an implant for free. We also provide help to other deserving candidates to get cochlear implant opinion.

  • International standard medical care and treatment for individuals with simple and complex ENT disorders.
  • Delivery of the highest possible education to trainees such as medical and paramedical professionals.
  • Provision of high-quality treatment at reasonable cost to individuals from economically weak sections of the society through community service activities.