woman putting on cochlear implants

Cochlear implants have revolutionized how individuals with severe to profound hearing loss experience sound. Unlike hearing aids that simply amplify sounds, these implants bypass damaged portions of the ear and directly stimulate the auditory nerve, enabling users to perceive sound more clearly. But are cochlear implants removable? In this blog, the professionals at South Florida ENT Associates will explore this question (the short answer: yes!), why you may want to remove your cochlear implant, and what to do following removal.

What You Need to Know About Removable Cochlear Implants

If necessary, the internal component of a cochlear implant can be surgically removed. However, removal is a surgical procedure with similar risks to the initial implantation, such as infection, bleeding, or damage to surrounding tissues.

Reimplantation is often possible in cases where the device needs to be replaced. Technological advancements in cochlear implants mean that newer models may offer improved performance, and patients may benefit from upgrading their devices.

Removing the internal component of a cochlear implant without reimplantation will result in a return to the previous level of hearing loss. The auditory nerve will no longer receive the electrical impulses needed to perceive sound.

Why You Would Remove a Cochlear Implant

Reasons for removal include the following:

  • Device Failure: While rare, there are instances where the cochlear implant may malfunction or fail. In such cases, removal and replacement with a new device may be necessary.
  • Medical Complications: Infections or other complications at the implantation site may necessitate the removal of the device. Proper medical management and consultation with healthcare providers are crucial in these situations.
  • Personal Choice: Some patients may remove their cochlear implant for personal reasons. Discussing openly with medical professionals to fully understand the implications and explore all available options is essential.

Post-Removal Care

  • Attend follow-up appointments so your SFENTA surgeon can check how it's healing and help with any issues
  • Clean the incision gently every day with a mild antiseptic
  • Use any antibiotic ointment your surgeon prescribes to lower the chance of infection
  • Look out for signs of infection like redness, swelling, more pain, or liquid coming from the incision
  • If you notice any of these signs, contact us right away
  • It's normal to feel some pain and discomfort after the implant is removed, so we might give you pain medicine or suggest over-the-counter pain relievers
  • Avoid strenuous activities, heavy lifting, or movements that could stretch the incision for a specific time
  • Keep the incision dry and safe
  • Don't swim, bathe, or get the area wet until it's fully healed
  • When you shower, cover the incision with a waterproof bandage or dressing

SFENTA is Here to Answer Your Cochlear Implant Removal Questions

Cochlear implants offer a remarkable solution for individuals with severe to profound hearing loss, transforming their ability to perceive sound. While the internal component of a cochlear implant is surgically implanted, it can be removed if necessary, though this decision should not be taken lightly.

If you have questions about cochlear implants, we invite you to schedule a consultation with one of our ENT Specialists. Contact us today to take the first step toward better hearing and an improved quality of life!

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