What is the expected lifespan of a cochlear implant?

Question: What is the expected lifespan of a cochlear implant?

When I received my cochlear implant, some people tried to warn me that getting an implant would make me a "surgery patient for life." They said that if the implant broke down or wore out, I would need more surgeries. So I decided to contact the makers of my own implant, Cochlear, to find out more information about the reliability of cochlear implants as compared to another internal part, such as a knee replacement.

Answer: Cochlear wrote in an e-mail:

"Although any implanted medical device can fail, cochlear implants have proven to be very reliable compared with other implanted devices. Knee replacements are much different from cochlear implants as they are subject to a lot of stress and are weight bearing [whereas cochlear implants are not subject to that much stress or weight]. Cochlear implants are designed to last a very long time as the components of the internal implant are biocompatible and quite durable."

That was certainly somewhat reassuring for me, even though when I went to get my cochlear implant surgery, there was a young boy in the same room getting a second implant because the first one had failed. That did make me somewhat anxious about the implant I was about to receive, but I did not back out of the surgery.

In addition, all three cochlear implant manufacturers (Cochlear, Advanced Bionics and Med-El) post on their websites their reliability statistics, as taken from the Cumulative Survival Rate (CSR) that reports what percentage of implants are still fully functional after a certain number of years.

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