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Maintenance Q & A


Medical Q & A


Miscellaneous Q & A

Q: At times I have such pain on my head behind the ear that I can’t wear the processor for days. I worry that I might have a tumour. Should I see the surgeon?

A: Pain on the head behind the ear is most likely to be due to an external cause, given that the skin has the most pain receptors. It is not unusual for people to screw in the magnet to ensure that the coil does not fall off easily. However, this can gradually produce a pressure point especially if the magnet actually touches the skin beneath.

Q: There was a test developed by Australian Hearing’s National Acoustic Labs to assess the ability of children with suspected central auditory processing disorder (CAPD) to understand speech when there is background noise present. What is this, where is it available, how do you identify if a child has CAPD, and what is the treatment?

A: The name of the test is the Listening in Spatialized Noise - Sentences test, or LiSN-S. It is available in English speaking countries from Phonak. LiSN-S is used to diagnose a specific type of CAPD known as spatial processing disorder, or SPD. This is a reduced ability to selectively attend to sounds coming from one direction and suppress noise coming from other directions. You might expect a child to have SPD if they are having difficulty understanding speech in noisy situations, such as in the classroom.

Q: Can implant operations now be carried out with a local anaesthetic or is a general anaesthetic still essential?

A: Cochlear implant surgery is best and most safely performed under a combination of general anaesthetic with assistance from local anaesthesia injected into the skin behind the ear to make the recovery after the surgery almost painless. The surgery involves drilling hard bone in the skull to enter the cochlea, while negotiating several sensitive structures including the facial nerve and nerve of taste. The ear drum, lining of the brain as well as the carotid artery and jugular vein are only a few millimetres away. The opening into the cochlea (cochleostomy) is around 1 millimetre in diameter (less than a dressmaker’s pin head) and the cochlear implant electrode around 0.6mm in diameter (like a bristle on your toothbrush).


This is where we answer medical questions about implants.

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Ask anything else about implants here.