What are the advantages and disadvantages of cochlear implants?


Quick Answer

The advantage of cochlear implants is that they allow the patient to hear at almost normal levels without lip reading. Disadvantages include possible complications with the surgery, nerve damage or tinnitus, according to WebMD.

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Full Answer

The main advantages for those who get a cochlear implant is a radical improvement in their ability to understand speech without lip reading. This makes it possible to have telephone conversations, watch TV, listen to music and communicate with other people at near normal levels, explains WebMD.

A cochlear implant enables the hearing of a range of tones ranging from soft to medium to loud sounds. It also gives users improved modulation and control of their own voice so that their speech is better understood by others, according to WebMD.

As with all surgical procedures, one of the key risks of a cochlear implant is the possibility of surgery-related complications such as infection, problems with anesthesia and bleeding, according to WebMD. Other disadvantages include the potential for nerve damage, which can cause the loss of taste, paralysis of the face or weakness in the facial muscles. Nerve injury can also cause problems with balance, bouts of dizziness and further loss of hearing.

Cochlear implants can sometimes fail to work properly or cause an infection which then requires them to be removed and replaced, states WebMD. In most instances, the magnet in the device needs to be removed before the user undergoes an MRI. Some parts also get damaged if they get wet, so the outer parts of certain cochlear implants need to be removed before showering or swimming.

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