Once your hearing healthcare professional has determined that you’re a candidate for a cochlear implant, you’ll be scheduled for implantation. Soon, hearing friends and family in restaurants, talking to your grandchildren on the phone, and fully participating in a meeting at work may be your everday reality.
The idea of implantation may evoke a range of feelings, including excitement, hope, or apprehension. Rest assured, cochlear implantations are relatively simple, minimally invasive, and performed thousands of times per year across the world. In fact, patients usually go home the same or very next day and resume their regular activities within a couple of days.
Cochlear implantations are routinely straightforward, typically taking two to four hours. Because the procedure is done under general anesthesia, you’ll spend additional time in the preparation and recovery areas.
You may or may not stay the night at the hospital, but you’ll be back to your normal routine within a few days.
As you prepare to get your cochlear implant, there are a few things to keep in mind. While your implant team will be present to support you, you should bring a friend or loved one in case you need help communicating and who can also help you drive home once the procedure is complete.
“After getting my implant, I saw Dennis DeYoung, from the band Styx, in concert. I cried a river of joyful tears throughout the whole show. I didn’t think I would ever ‘hear’ music like that again.”
— Glenice Swenson, implanted at age 45, bilaterally implanted at age 51
Be sure to check your list before you head to the hospital:
Cochlear implant candidates and recipients should consult their primary care physician and implanting surgeon regarding vaccination status against organisms that cause meningitis. Meningitis is a known risk of inner ear surgery and candidates and recipients should be appropriately aware of this risk.
Because children with cochlear implants are at increased risk for pneumococcal meningitis, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommend that they receive pneumococcal vaccination on the same schedule recommended for other groups at increased risk for invasive pneumococcal disease. Recommendations for the timing and type of pneumococcal vaccination vary with age and vaccination history, and should be discussed with a health care provider.
American Cochlear Implant Alliance (ACIA)
Important Health Alert for Cochlear Implant Recipients (December 2012)