Cochlear implants treat severe to profound hearing loss in patients with sensorineural (inner ear–related) hearing loss whose impairment can’t be treated with hearing aids. The devices are surgically implanted and are able to bypass the problematic areas in the ear by directly stimulating the auditory nerve and sending signals straight to the brain.
Cochlear implants must be surgically placed by a trained physician. Once this placement occurs, the mapping process can soon begin.
How Do Cochlear Implants Work?
Cochlear implants have two separate parts: an external device – which houses a microphone, a speech processor and a transmitter – and an internal component, which consists of a receiver and many electrodes.
While cochlear implants aren’t a cure for deafness or a way to restore hearing, they mimic the process of hearing by allowing you to receive and translate noises into sounds the brain can understand. This is a complicated process that requires patients to adapt and learn over the course of many days, months and even years.
After cochlear implant surgery, patients need to recover for a minimum of two weeks. At the end of this recovery period, it’s time to begin using the cochlear implants in tandem with the external device, which is worn behind the ear.
What Is Cochlear Mapping?
Patients often need the help of a cochlear implant specialist and audiologist throughout the adjustment and programming process. This process is called cochlear implant mapping (MAPs are programs that optimize the functionality of a cochlear implant).
At Arizona Desert Ear, Nose & Throat Specialists, we offer premier cochlear implant mapping services to our patients. We strongly believe in pairing expert programming with outstanding patient counseling to help you or your loved one get the most out of cochlear implants. Here are some things to keep in mind as you prepare for a cochlear implant mapping appointment:
- Come up with notes, questions and concerns in the weeks before your appointment. Bring this list to your audiology appointment to ensure you get the answers you need and the results you want.
- Expect to be tested. The mapping process relies on your perception and comprehension abilities to provide the best results possible. Your adjustments will be made not only based on your hearing abilities but also your speech audiometry testing results.
- Prepare to give it your all by coming to your audiologist’s office focused, hydrated, well fed and rested. Mapping is a very precise procedure that requires undivided attention from both you and your audiologist.
- Bring all your equipment, including accessories, the remote, your backup processor and anything else that might be relevant. Each of these pieces of equipment is important to the overall mapping process.
- Express your concerns. If certain sounds come across distorted, loud, quiet or otherwise abnormal, don’t hesitate to speak up! Cochlear implants require hard work from patients and loved ones, but mapping appointments are the time to get as much right as possible.
If you have cochlear implants, continuous adjustments are the best way to ensure you’re hearing and understanding your best.
Call Arizona Desert Ear, Nose & Throat Specialists at (623) 209-7771 for more information or to schedule an appointment.