Symptoms and causes

When is it indicated?

If a hearing aid is insufficiently effective, a cochlear implant may vastly improveme the quality of life. A rule of thumb is that, if telephone conversations are no longer possible, it is worth testing whether an implant would be useful.

A hearing test will establish if an implant is useful and it will be reimbursed. If the conditions are met, the implant (worth approximately €18,000, including procedure and rehabilitation) is fully reimbursed.

Process

Before the procedure:

The procedure to place the implant takes approximately three hours. It will usually involve staying one night in hospital, but it is sometimes performed as an outpatient procedure.

After the procedure:

After the procedure, slight balance issues (not serious vertigo, which is very rare), slight pain and a temporary change in taste may occur. You will then come for a follow-up ten days after the procedure.

Possible risks

The placement of a cochlear implant is associated with the same possible risks as other major ear surgeries. The following risks are rare:

  • hearing loss
  • balance disorders
  • paralysis of the facial nerve (facial paralysis): we always use a nerve monitoring system during the procedure, which will warn us when we start to get close to the nerve.
  • cerebrospinal fluid leak or meningitis.

Implants may fail over time or be rejected, but this is very rare.

Results

After a few weeks you will visit the Ear Group in Deurne for the ‘fitting’: the connection and adjustment of the implants. When the implants are connected, patients are often somewhat disappointed. A few weeks later, the settings are adjusted and this already results in improvements. After a few months to a year, most patients are very happy and do not want to be without their implant.

You will be monitored at the Ear Group on an annual basis to adjust the implants according to the newest algorithms, so you can have the optimal result.

In some hospitals, this fitting is done in the hospital itself. We collaborate with the Ear Group because of their extensive expertise and because they engage in a lot of research that is recognised worldwide. Therefore, the group members are able to adjust the settings even better. In this way, you will be able to get the most out of your implants. In addition, our patients are also very satisfied.

Centres and specialist areas

Ear, nose, and throat diseases

Latest publication date: 28/06/2021
Supervising author: Dr Vermeiren Judith