Do you have severe or profound hearing loss that cannot be handled with hearing aids? You might be a candidate for cochlear implants.
What are cochlear implants?
Cochlear implants are electronic devices surgically inserted in the inner ear to assist persons with severe to profound hearing loss in hearing sounds. They take over the function of injured hair cells in the inner ear, which convert sound vibrations into electrical impulses conveyed to the brain.
When you wear a cochlear implant, its external device (or sound processor) detects noises and converts them into electrical impulses. These impulses are delivered via the cochlear implant's microphone and wirelessly relayed to the internal device, activating your auditory nerve. This enables your brain to recognize and ascribe meaning to sounds.
There are two kinds of cochlear implants: one implanted behind your ear and the other worn behind your ear but under the skin.
What exactly is Cochlear Implant Mapping?
A cochlear implant device must be tuned to match how you hear best. This procedure is known as 'mapping,' It can only be performed by qualified hearing experts who have undergone specialized training on the particular cochlear implant device advised for you.
Cochlear implants may be customized independently for each user; however, the device must be mapped. This is an adjustment of the exterior and internal equipment to match each person's hearing needs. MAPs are programs that assist people with cochlear implants to achieve the highest sound quality possible by changing the input to the electrodes on the array placed in the cochlea.
To begin the 'MAPping' procedure, the cochlear implant processor is initially linked to our computer. T-Levels or Thresholds are the weakest noises that consumers can detect. C-Levels, also known as M-Levels, are pleasant volume levels for the user. We adjust each electrode's T- and C- values by giving your a series of "beeps" and watching how you respond to them.
We may also alter the MAP's stimulation rate or programming method. These computer algorithms and programs convert acoustic sound (what individuals with normal hearing hear) into the appropriate mix of electrode stimulations to give you an authentic experience of that sound.
A MAP that is unique to each patient
One of the most fundamental things to grasp about mapping is that no two mappings are identical.
Because each brain is unique, mapping differs significantly across people and devices. Some individuals, for example, may have easier difficulty hearing particular frequencies than others.
The time necessary for mapping varies from patient to patient, depending on how fast their brain learns how to best interpret the signals entering their ears through their cochlear implants.
While each mapping requires time and effort, they are not one-time events. You will likely need to re-map your implant as you improve your hearing and awareness of the noises around you.
At Upstate Hearing and Balance, we will work with you to tweak and fine-tune your sound processor over time so that you get the most out of your implant. If you have any questions or would like to make an appointment to determine if you are a candidate for cochlear implants, please get in touch with us today!