ENT: Ear, Nose & Throat Disorders. The ears, nose and throat are important parts of your body that are used on a daily basis. The ears are sensory organs that are not only related to hearing, but also function to provide you with a sense of balance.
The nose is also a sensory organ that not only provides you with sense of smell, but also partially provides for your sense of taste. The nose also plays an important function in humidifying air we breathe and works to prevent germs from entering the body. The throat provides the route for both air to reach the lungs, as well as the route for food and water to enter your digestive tract.
Dysfunction of the ears, nose or throat can dramatically affect your quality of life and in some cases may constitute a medical emergency.
A cochlear implant is a surgically implanted neuroprosthetic device that provides a sense of sound to a person with severe to profound sensorineural hearing loss. Cochlear implants bypass the normal acoustic hearing process, instead replacing it with electric hearing. Namely, the sound sensation comes from the sound that is converted to electric signals which directly stimulate the auditory nerve. The brain adapts to the new mode of hearing, and eventually can interpret the electric signals as sound and speech.
The implant has two main components. The outside component is generally worn behind the ear, but could also be attached to clothing, for example, in young children. This component, the sound processor, contains microphones, electronics that include DSP chips, battery, and a coil which transmits a signal to the implant across the skin. The inside component, the actual implant, has a coil to receive signals, electronics, and an array of electrodes which is placed into the cochlea, which stimulate the cochlear nerve.
The surgical procedure is performed under general anesthesia. Surgical risks are minimal but can include tinnitus and dizziness.