11 state-run cochlear implant centers active in Iran

July 1, 2018

TEHRAN — Eleven governmental cochlear implant centers are currently active in Iran, said the head of the department of hearing health affiliated with the Ministry of Health.

A cochlear implant is an electronic medical device that does the work of damaged parts of the inner ear (cochlea) to provide sound signals to the brain.

Out of the 11 governmental cochlear implant centers active in the country, 4 are located in Tehran, Fars quoted Saeed Mahmoudian as saying.

Cochlear implantation costs about 400 million rials (nearly $9,000) in Iran, which is partially paid by the government and charitable foundations, he said.

Also, cochlear implant for people struggling financially will be done at lower costs, he added.

Newborn hearing screening tests should be carried out at the first month of an infant’s life, he stated, adding, if a possible hearing loss is detected, further tests should be done to confirm the results, and when hearing loss is confirmed, treatment and early intervention should start immediately.

Referring to the fact that the average hearing loss in Iranian infants is 2.7 per 1,000 births, he went on to say that since [the previous Iranian calendar year] 1396 (March 2017-March 2018), out of 1.5 million live births, hearing screening test has been conducted for 1.1 million infants in the health centers and hospitals nationwide.

As a result of the aforesaid screening test, some 3,700 infants were suffering hearing impediment, of which some 3,423 have been treated, Mahmoudian added.

This year, the Ministry of Health plans to provide a full insurance coverage for infants suffering hearing impairments, he concluded.

-----------How does a cochlear implant work?

A cochlear implant is a small, complex electronic device that can help to provide a sense of sound to a person who is profoundly hearing impaired or severely hard-of-hearing. The implant consists of an external portion that sits behind the ear and a second portion that is surgically placed under the skin.

A cochlear implant is very different from a hearing aid. Hearing aids amplify sounds so they may be detected by damaged ears. Cochlear implants bypass damaged portions of the ear and directly stimulate the auditory nerve. Signals generated by the implant are sent by way of the auditory nerve to the brain, which recognizes the signals as sound. Hearing through a cochlear implant is different from normal hearing and takes time to learn or relearn. However, it allows many people to recognize warning signals, understand other sounds in the environment, and understand speech in person or over the telephone.

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