A cochlear implant is a small but complex device that can assist someone who is deaf or very hard-of-hearing. As the name suggests, the device is surgically placed under the skin, though it does contain some parts that remain exterior to the body. The cost of a cochlear implant is related to the high value of the equipment. The cochlear implant is comprised of a microphone and a speech processor that sit on the upper ear where it connects to the head, a transmitter placed on the side of the head above the ear, and an internal receiver that transmits the signal to an electrode array within the ear. These electrodes are directly connected to the auditory nerve, and stimulate it in a manner akin to the production of sound. Cochlear implant cost falls around $50,000 including the extensive therapy that is required to learn to use the device.
What Is A Cochlear Implant?
Many kinds of deafness and severe hearing impairments are caused by some type of dysfunction between the opening of the ear and the auditory nerve of the brain. A cochlear implant addresses these issues by creating a path for the sound to be processed into an electrical signal that can then be interpreted by the brain. This is achieved through a sophisticated relay system consisting of a microphone, speech processor, transmitter, receiver/stimulator, and electrode array. The cost of a cochlear implant is very high, as it includes this technologically advanced equipment as well as a long-term commitment to rehabilitative therapy.
Cochlear Implant Surgery Cost
The cost of a cochlear implant can vary based on the amount of therapy needed following the surgery. A patient who learns to use the device rater quickly may spend less than $30,000 while cochlear implant cost can be as high a $125,000 when long-term, intensive therapy is needed. When the device is first embedded, the implant produces an electrical signal that is unfamiliar and not immediately recognized by the brain. This discrepancy can be difficult to overcome if the device is implanted a long time after the original loss of hearing. The process is typically more difficult for someone who has never had sufficient hearing, as they do not have the memory of sounds to draw upon. Without these memories, the strengthening of the connection between the brain and cochlear implant can be a slow and frustrating process.
Cochlear Implant Insurance Coverage
Cochlear implant cost is very high, and it is certainly a procedure that is unlikely to be afforded without some sort of insurance coverage. Most insurance companies will offer complete coverage to children under a certain age, while providing at least partial benefits to adults. Wide coverage for cochlear implants was not the case for many years. The recent increase has been attributed to better education, and the implementation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. There are other possible sources of funding when insurance coverage is not available, such as employment rehabilitation services and special programs by the state and government.
Cochlear Implant Candidacy
Not all hearing-loss patients are qualified to receive this procedure, even if they can afford the high cochlear implant cost. The treatment is only available to patients who are completely deaf or have severe hearing impairment. Patients with a disability that is due to auditory nerve damage are not eligible since the device must be connected to the brain via this nerve in order to function properly. If you still qualify, it is important that you consider all aspects of the procedure prior to making a decision. Cochlear implant cost is very high, over $50,000 in many cases, and it is not always covered by insurance. Financial considerations should be made before progressing with any plans for surgery.
Cochlear Implant Pros And Cons
The most popular benefit of receiving a cochlear implant is the chance to interpret sound again, or for the first time. The device is relatively unobtrusive, and can be fine-tuned over time to provide for ever-improving learning capabilities. The cost of a cochlear implant is usually covered by medical insurance, and the batteries needed to operate the device are inexpensive. Unfortunately, not everyone has insurance or the needed coverage, and in this case cochlear implant cost is out of most people’s budget range. The device is not large but is not inconspicuous either, which may be a detractor for some people. The rehabilitation following cochlear implant surgery is demanding and may last for a very long time. The costs associated with rehabilitative therapy can easily be the biggest part of cochlear implant cost.
Cochlear Implants In Children
Some children are born without the ability to hear, and a cochlear implant may give them the opportunity to interact with sound despite their disability. Children as young as 12 months old can be candidates for the implant, and the sooner they receive the procedure, the better chance they will have of achieving a high level of auditory functioning. Cochlear implant cost for children is comparable to the cost for adults, but it may be more expensive over time due to the extensive learning needs of a young child. Despite the high expense of the procedure, the cost effectiveness of cochlear implants in children is excellent, as it can save up to one million dollars in extra needs and lost wages over an entire lifetime.
Cochlear Implant Batteries
Like all electronic devices, the cochlear implant needs a power source. Batteries are widely available that can provide up to 2 weeks of usage, and are commonly of the zinc variety. Rechargeable batteries can reduce some of the additional cochlear implant cost imparted by the need for power. Other readily disposable batteries are available that can be quickly and easily replaced. The battery is often placed inside the receiver on the side of the head, and battery covers can be styled to integrated with your wardrobe. The cost of a cochlear implant battery can be less than a dollar, especially if purchased in a bulk package.