Beth Israel Now Performing Cochlear Implants
Beth Israel Medical Center announced that Dr. Selena Heman-Ackah will now be performing cochlear implant surgeries for all ages. Heman-Ackah, who is the medical director of Otology, Neurotology, and Audiology at Beth Israel has performed more than 175 of these surgeries in her career, on both adults and children.
Cochlear implants are small electronic devices that can provide a solution for people who suffer from severe hearing loss or who are profoundly deaf. While a hearing aid amplifies sound for a weak ear to detect, cochlear implants directly stimulate the auditory nerve which sends an electrical signal to the auditory area of the brain. And the brain registers this stimulation as sound.
Hearing loss patients of all ages are eligible for Heman-Ackah’s surgery at Beth Isreal. Heman-Ackah says there is no age limit. In a press release she said:
“Even very elderly people can benefit from this treatment. In fact, patients as old as 99 have been treated with good results.”
Cochlear implants available for adults means improved quality of life for many people. This treatment can correct hearing loss as a result of many different causes: inner ear disorder, long-term exposure to loud noises, autoimmune disease, an infection.
Inserting cochlear implants is a simple, safe, outpatient surgery that Heman-Ackah says can have life-altering effects. In addition to providing a solution for hearing loss, cochlear implants can prevent depression in many patients who feel the social isolation that often accompanies diminished hearing. Heman-Ackah points out that adults can also extend their working lives through this surgery. In a press release she said:
“The implant doesn’t restore ‘normal’ hearing, but it can allow people to understand everyday sounds and participate in conversations, often including over the phone, with continued improvements in music appreciation. And over time the brain adapts to the new way of processing auditory signals and they begin to sound more natural.”