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WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
- A cochlear implant (CI) is a small device that helps improve your hearing. Normally, sounds are changed into electric signals by special hair cells in your cochlea. The signals are sent through your auditory (hearing) nerve to your brain, allowing you to hear sound. The cochlea is inside your inner ear and is the main body organ for hearing. Damage to the hair cells causes hearing loss. You may need a CI if you are very hard of hearing and hearing aids do not help. Your caregiver may also decide that you should have a CI if you are deaf.
- With a CI, you will wear a plastic ear piece with a tiny microphone. This is attached to a speech or sound box. The sound box may be worn on your belt or placed inside your pocket. During surgery, electrodes (wires) are put into your cochlea. A receiver is put under the skin behind your ear. The receiver is a listening tool and it works together with a transmitter. The transmitter is a round plastic coil that is worn outside your ear.
- Your caregiver may decide that you need a CI for one or both ears. A CI may help you communicate with other people. It may help you understand what people are saying. A CI may also help you feel better about yourself.
- Keep a current list of your medicines: Include the amounts, and when, how, and why you take them. Take the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency. Throw away old medicine lists. Use vitamins, herbs, or food supplements only as directed.
- Take your medicine as directed: Call your primary healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not working as expected. Tell him about any medicine allergies, and if you want to quit taking or change your medicine.
Follow-up visit information:
Ask your caregiver when you need to return to have your CI checked. You may also need to come back for hearing tests to check if your CI is working properly. Make sure to keep all your planned visits with your caregiver. Write down any questions you may have. This way you will remember to ask these questions during your next visit.
CONTACT A CAREGIVER IF:
- You feel dizzy or weak.
- You feel sick to your stomach or you throw up.
- You have chills.
- You have muscle pain or feel achy.
- You feel more sleepy than usual.
- You lose feeling on your face or cannot move parts of your face.
- Your wound is swollen, red, or has pus coming from it.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition, medicine, or care.
SEEK CARE IMMEDIATELY IF:
- You have a fever.
- You have a bad headache.
- You have a seizure (convulsion). A seizure is when your body starts to shudder and you cannot control it.
- Your neck feels painful or stiff.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.