10 Best Exercises to Relieve Stress

10 Best Exercises to Relieve Stress


Stress – quite a familiar word these days, isn’t it?


Whether it’s work, kids, or your partner – everything contributes to stress. And undoubtedly, it can be tiring and mentally exhausting. It sucks out your energy to finish the rest of your day or commence with a new one.


All of us have a different coping mechanism when it comes to stress. It could be gaming, gardening, painting, or talking to your friends.

However, the ideal way to beat stress is – that’s right – EXERCISE! 


Let’s look into the ten best activities that you can regularly do to relieve stress.


How Can Exercise Relieve My Stress?


Exercise can help you put stress aside in numerous ways. But, in order to understand how it does, it’s essential to know what’s happening in your body when you’re under pressure.


The neurochemical basis of this phenomenon is quite simple. Stress stimulates the release of cortisol (the stress-causing hormone) and adrenaline (the fight-or-flight hormone). These hormones are the ones driving your stress and are the main culprits behind your anxious behaviour and inability to perform well.


Moreover, exercising also causes the release of endorphins that are known as happy neurotransmitters. Therefore, when you exercise, there’s a significant decrease in the levels of these hormones. Conversely, as their levels increase, you feel better about yourself and in control of the situation you’re stuck in.


Beat The Stress With These 10 Exercises!

 

woman taking stress

 

Now that you are fully aware of stress – it’s about time you took back the charge. Stress does not only ruin your ability to get done with the tasks, but it also makes you doubt yourself and your capabilities.


To avoid problems, it’s best to knock the stress with the following exercises:


1. Brisk Walking


Let’s begin with the easiest one of them all – walking. But we walk every day, right? So why are we still stressed then? Well, brisk walking and just moving from one corner to get a task done is different.


Brisk walking allows you to use your muscles better but prevents you from tiring out. It’s known that people with a proper walking regimen can cope with their stress better and are healthier as well, both mentally and physically.


Brisk walking is the ideal way to get started on this mission of beating stress.


2. Tai Chi


Tai chi is a series of self-paced fluid body movements and heavily promotes serenity through various moves. Originally tai chi was an ancient internal Chinese form of martial arts used for meditation, health purposes, and more. However, it is also known to increase flexibility and calm those stress levels down. 


Tai chi puts minimal pressure on the muscles and joints, making it accessible to all ages. So if you are looking for something refreshing, then tai chi might be for you!


3. Pilates


Pilates is also a physical fitness system developed in the early 20th century. It aids in the treatment of depression and anxiety. However, it is not solely designed just to strengthen the muscles and improve body balance.


If you wish to build a self-care routine, you expect a noticeable change after reinforcing this in your life. You’ll feel your mental state sharpening and experience better performance.


Concentrating on your breathing and good thinking will definitely switch the stressed mode into a better one. 


4. Yoga


Yoga is an activity that we hear most fitness gurus talk about. The main reason is that yoga consists mainly of postures and can gradually increase your joints’ flexibility.


Yoga focuses on meditation and breathing techniques which can help one distress. Studies have shown that people who consistently perform yoga have a higher chance of lowering stress levels.


Not only that, but you’ll also be able to lose some of those pounds as yoga is an effective tool for weight loss.


5. Dancing


Suppose there is one thing that almost everybody enjoys doing is; dancing. Dance often has categorised movements, and specific choreographies help us detect the mood of each form.


For many people, dancing serves as a perfect way to relieve their stress. This is because dancing helps the brain release endorphins- chemicals that act as natural painkillers. It also improves our ability to sleep, meaning reduced stress levels.


So the next time you feel stressed, hit your jam and dance the stress away!


6. HIIT Workout


HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) is a combination of high-intensity bursts of cardio exercise followed by long or equal rests.


An example of a HIIT workout would be 50 to 90 seconds of squats after warming up, followed by slow jogging. Along with lower risks of heart diseases, it reduces signs of stress, anxiety, and various other problems associated with stress.


7. Swimming


Swimming is the best form of exercise on this list. Since you need to move your body against the water’s resistance, it proves to be an all-rounder activity.


Furthermore, it keeps your heart rate in check, lowers the chances of stress, and keeps you active throughout. Swimming is definitely the perfect stress relief exercise if you love water in general.


8. Kickboxing


Kickboxing is about combat that mainly includes kicking and punching. It also helps you release endorphins and reduce anxiety and stress levels.

On top of that, you’ll notice your waistline shrinking!


9. Outdoor Activities


Outdoor activities such as biking and walking may seem insignificant, but they largely contribute to one’s stable mental health.


Being in the fresh air is most likely to result in increased blood circulation to the brain, release of good hormones such as serotonin – which are responsible for making you feel happy, and just an overall sense of well-being. 


10. Qigong


Qigong is also an ancient Chinese healing exercise that includes proper breathing and meditation. Mainly referred to as Asian yoga that has been around for thousands of years.


It involves slow movements that the Chinese and Asia recognise as a healing and rhythmic practice that cultivates balance and brings energy.


Trails have indicated that qigong is effective when it comes to dealing with pressure and stress. It enhances your health all over and maintains blood pressure.


Conclusion


It’s OK to stress because – let’s get real for a while – it gets a lot of our tasks done. But stressing about everything, even the minor problems, is not healthy at all. 


You can either pick one exercise and start with that or try a combination of these exercises. Making a plan, and dedicating a particular slot to these exercises, can help you curb the stress.


Moreover, if you’re starting a fitness program to beat stress, it’d be best to consult a professional and get their opinion as well.

 

9 Reasons Why Good Sleep Is Important

9 Reasons Why Good Sleep Is Important


The universal truth about sleeping is that we all love it. 


However, sleeping on time and making the most of it is different from sleeping whenever you want to. In order to have a healthy lifestyle, it’s incredibly vital to sleep well.


A lot of things fall into their proper places if you’re sleeping well. But unfortunately, the concept of good/healthy sleep isn’t too popular these days. 


So allow us to change your mind by giving ten reasons why good sleep is essential – let’s get into it!


How Does Sleep Work?


Sleep is divided into multiple sleep cycles, with each cycle lasting from 70 to 120 minutes. Specifically, sleep consists of four integral stages:


  • Stage 01 (1-5 minutes): Beginning of your sleep; it eventually transitions into stage 2
  • Stage 02 (10-60 mins): Further decrease in the brain’s activity
  • Stage 03 (20-40 mins): A marked reduction in the brain’s activity accompanied by the relaxation of the body’s muscles. This stage allows your body to recover from the tiredness of the day.
  • Stage 04 (10-60 mins): Also known as REM sleep – this stage is the most critical part of your sleep, as it focuses on improving your memory and learning capabilities.

Good Sleep: A Superhero That’ll Turn Your Life Around


Well, now that you know how sleep works, let’s take a look at how it can turn your life around.


1. Improves Concentration & Productivity


It’s natural to feel in sync with your body after a good sleep. This is so because sleeping well allows your body to recover from the previous day’s tiredness. Once this is achieved, you are bound to concentrate well the next day and boost your productivity.


On the other hand, a poor sleep of 4-5 hours doesn’t let the REM cycle do its job. Thus, feeling sluggish and tired is inevitable.


2. Keeps You From Getting Depressed


One of the reasons behind the fast-paced progression of depression is the lack of good sleep. While we cannot establish a direct link, it’s understood that feeling exhausted and not exercising due to poor sleep can lead to mood-related symptoms.


Furthermore, not sleeping well disrupts the function of serotonin. It’s the hormone that stabilises our mood and promotes a feeling of well-being. Therefore, fluctuating levels of serotonin can disturb the circadian rhythms leaving you vulnerable to depression.


3. Greater Athletic Performance


Athletes love a good sleep as much as they love sports. It is because a goodnight’s sleep leads to enhanced athletic performance.


According to a study, poor sleep can lead to problems, inaccuracy, and strength. Therefore, athletes need to ensure that they have a proper sleeping schedule and sleep for adequate hours to improve their competitiveness and endurance.


4. Makes Your Immune System Function Better


Giving your body a chance to recover fully is incredibly essential. Not doing it might leave you susceptible to various infections, and rightfully so.


According to experts, good sleep leads to the production of cytokines. These proteins are required by the body to fight off the attacks of microorganisms and keep you healthy.


In addition, if you’re not letting sleep work its restorative magic, then you’re inviting harmful foreign bodies to invade your body.


5. Good Sleep Ensures Lower Weight Gain Risk


Sleeping well at night keeps multiple things in check. One such is a group of hormones known as leptin and ghrelin that regulate appetite. If these hormones work in a balanced environment, you don’t have a chance of gaining unwanted weight.


However, disturbed sleep patterns can cause weight gain due to the disruption in these hormones.


6. Decreases Risk Of Heart Disease


Our hearts never stop beating and pumping blood. But this doesn’t mean that they don’t slow down to take a rest. During sleep, the heart slows down and recovers from the day’s job to ensure that its performance, the following day, is up to the mark.


If you don’t sleep well and deprive the heart of this crucial recovery period, you’d be welcoming heart diseases with open arms. To back up this claim, research has proven that individuals who don’t sleep well have a 20% higher risk of suffering from cardiovascular diseases.


7. Maintains Healthy Levels Of Blood Sugar


You’d be surprised to know that there is a pretty solid connection between sleep and type 2 diabetes.


When you don’t sleep well and deprive yourself of the regular hours invested in sleeping, it causes insulin resistance. Because of this, the blood sugar doesn’t get taken up by the cells – hence causing an increase in its levels!


Apart from maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle, sleeping well is also a vital factor that can help you stay fit.


8. Sleep Reduces Stress


This doesn’t need much explanation because it’s pretty self-explanatory.

Many experts have discussed this in detail and have declared that good sleep means good brain function. And when your brain is functioning correctly, you’re most likely not to get stressed.


According to various studies, poor sleep has made people more sensitive to negative stimuli and thus more prone to develop stress and anxiety.

So, when you feel like your brain is melting – please, go to sleep.


9. Sleep Improves Your Memory


Who knew that the way to memorise your course better was to sleep? And literally, all of the undergraduates or even postgraduates do not get a goodnight sleep.


The link between sleep and memory is quite simple. If your brain is tired, it will get incredibly challenging to focus. This could lead to inadequate attention to a topic and thus impaired memory.


How To Sleep Better?


Now that you know the importance of sleeping well, you should try your best to improve it. Here are some of the things you can do to sleep better:


  • Find the ideal pillow for yourselves
  • Fix a specific time to go to bed
  • Don’t consume any caffeinated drinks at least 2 hours before bed
  • Quit using your laptop/cellphone/tablet before sleeping
  • Make sure you have a comfortable mattress
  • Improve the bedroom environment to optimise your sleep

Conclusion

 

woman waking up in the morning

 

In order to benefit from sleeping, it’s vital to prioritise healthy sleeping habits. For this, you can try to dedicate a particular time to sleep. Furthermore, stretching and putting away your cell phone before going to bed can also improve your overall sleep.


To be healthy, it’s not only essential to eat and exercise – but sleeping is quite vital too. So work on your sleep starting today for a healthier future! 

 

12 Healthy Foods To Eat Right After Labour

12 Healthy Foods To Eat Right After Labour

 

Self-care, right after labour, wouldn’t be making it to your to-do list for at least a month. But the truth is that the initial months are equally crucial for the mother as they are for the baby. 


In the first two to three months, consuming alcohol or incorporating junk food into your diet isn’t a good decision. So ignoring yourself and not prioritising yourself can bear unwanted consequences. Therefore, it’s essential to take care of your health and well-being as well.


To help you begin this process, here are the 12 healthy foods to eat right after your labour. They will provide you with the nutrients required to have a healthy postpartum period.


Foods To Eat After Labour


Eating proper, healthy, and nutritious meals will help you stay active and heal the body faster. Not only that, but it will also prove to be beneficial for your baby.


Following are some of the food items that you must include in your diet:


1. Oatmeal


If you thought that giving birth was scary, then you might have to wait for that postpartum poop. Unfortunately, due to the extreme wear and tear of pushing a baby out of your uterus, it is most likely that going to the washroom will be a significant problem.


Moreover, you can expect episodes of constipation after birth due to pregnancy hormones. So in order to help things move smoothly down there, you must include foods that are rich in fibre in your diet.


Adding oatmeal to your diet will be perfect as it is a bland carb that eases constipation. You can top the oatmeal bowl off with some fruits such as berries, strawberries, and more.


2. Citrus Fruits


Citrus fruits, such as oranges, are a must-have along with an iron-rich meal. In addition, they are a great way to boost your energy levels.


Oranges and other citrus fruits are excellent breastfeeding food items since they are full of Vitamin C. Therefore, new moms need them way more than pregnant women. It also improves your immune system that will keep the baby complete with antioxidants.


You’ll even see your postpartum wound healing pretty quickly once oranges become one of your daily intakes.


3. Green Leafy Vegetables


Dark, leafy greens such as spinach, leaf lettuce, and broccoli contain numerous vitamins like Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, calcium, and iron. Such green veggies are also low in calories and taste yummy – an actual win-win situation!


4. Beef


After birth, it is completely normal to lose some blood. And because of that, you may experience iron deficiency and anaemia.


Both of these can interfere with your recovery. Hence you’ll need a food item that can swiftly help you compensate for the loss. That’s where beef comes to play.


Eating beef or including small amounts of it will help you regain your sodium balance and keep your blood levels in check.


5. Canned Beans


Canned beans are a great source of proteins, and you can eat them with any of your meals! The high fibre and proteins present in beans can aid you in keeping your digestive system running. It’s necessary, especially after vaginal or C-section birth.


6. Eggs


Having eggs for breakfast is a great way to start your day with a burst of energy. You’ll even find your muscles soothed that you have been in an ordeal due to the entire birth process.  


Moreover, the fun part about eggs is that you can have them in any way you like. You can either have it scrambled, hard or soft boiled, fried or in the shape of an omelette.


7. Nuts


Don’t you wish to have a good supply of milk for the sake of your little one? For that, you must take these healthy fats.


Nuts such as almonds, walnuts, and hazelnuts soaked in water fortify their goodness and prove to be a good snack that you can have from time to time. What’s more, these will aid in the proper development of your little one’s brain and organs. That is why you can’t leave out this food item at all!


8. Dates


Dates are the sweet little candies that almost everyone loves. These simple sugars are full of many vitamins. You can pack them with ease and eat anytime.


That said, dates are also said to increase your milk supply and contain dietary fibre and potassium, making the average blood loss and haemorrhaging minor and controlled.


9. Apples


Apples are the perfect mix of proteins, vitamins, and healthy fats. Moreover, they can help you get rid of that bad breath if you cannot walk up to the sink. This fruit is an instant energiser and can keep the lethargic feeling at bay!


10. Chicken Noodle Soup


Since sweating is also a regular post-birth activity, you’ll need something to keep you hydrated constantly. So if you aren’t a big fan of water, then chicken noodle soup might cut out for you!


The warm, salty broth is going to excite your taste buds and give you something new to have instead of plain water. The soft noodles are going to be easy to chew. Overall, chicken noodle soup will give life to your sour taste.


11. Seafood


If you are going to eat seafood, then you might have to check for fish advisories. However, eating fish like tuna and salmon is DHA and EPA’s richest source on the bright side. They highly contribute to the vision and brain development of the baby.


12. Sweet Potatoes


Eating just one sweet potato can meet the daily recommendation of Vitamin A and is essential for breastfeeding moms. Since sweet potatoes are root veggies, the mineral and vitamin content is much higher and better than the vegetables. 


So get your hands on sweet potatoes and spice it up with a bit of red and black pepper!


Conclusion


Looking after yourself and taking care of your diet equals a healthy baby. So if you want to ensure that your baby is healthy, has a robust immune system along with typical development – then, pay attention to yourself!

 

 

Heart Palpitations After Eating: Guide To Foods & Conditions That Cause Heart Pounding

Heart Palpitations After Eating: Guide To Foods & Conditions That Cause Heart Pounding


If you have ever felt a “flutter” in your heart after eating something, it means heart palpitations have made an appearance in your life. 


Heart palpitations are defined as the loud and irregular beating of the heart. You’re able to feel this pounding and thumping of your heart. While there can be numerous conditions that can lead to this, we will talk about food items being the cause of this.


Let’s look at the ingredients, drugs, supplements and various other causes of heart palpitations and what you can do to control them.


Foods That Cause Heart Palpitations


Now that you know what heart palpitations feel like – have you ever experienced them after consuming a meal? If yes, then the primary cause for this is food sensitivity.


Food sensitivity is your body’s allergic response to certain edible items. It’s pretty normal to be allergic to foods you consume daily and not know about it. However, when the allergic reaction is strong, there are high chances of you experiencing some of the following symptoms:


  • Headache
  • Bloating
  • Diarrhoea
  • Migraines

– and heart palpitations as well.


1. Chocolate & Caffeine


Have you felt like your heart will burst right out of the ribcage just after you’ve had some delicious chocolate? Well, the culprit here is the chocolate. And if you want to avoid this disturbing feeling, it’d be a wise decision to give up on chocolate once and for all.


Usually, it’s not chocolate but soy, cocoa, milk, caffeine, or other essential ingredients that can trigger this reaction. Moreover, food items like caffeine, tea, soda or energy drinks can also trigger heart palpitations along with other body responses.


2. Tyramine


Tyramine is an amino acid that is found in pepperoni, cheese, sausages and even salami. This amino acid is responsible for maintaining blood pressure and occurs naturally in our bodies. In high amounts, it can lead to increased pressure and, therefore, heart palpitations.


3. Alcohol


Our heart functions in a well-coordinated manner. It conveys the electrical signals in an organised fashion, and alcohol is known to disrupt this pattern. Because of this, there are chances of experiencing irregular heartbeats.


Also, alcohol dilates the blood vessels as well. When this happens, the blood pumped and received by the blood increases, leading to high blood pressure and eventually heart palpitations. If faced with such issues, especially after drinking alcohol, it’s about time you stopped drinking alcohol.


4. High-Sodium Foods


Did you notice your heart racing like crazy after you eat something very salty? It could be salted nuts, potato chips, canned products with added/extra salt. If yes, then you probably are consuming too much salt.


Sodium can raise blood pressure, and while taking large quantities is never a good habit. In addition, it can lead to heart palpitations and even more severe issues in individuals with food sensitivity.


5. Carb-Rich Meals


We all consume carbohydrates daily. Be it breakfast, lunch or dinner – it’s the staple food almost everyone eats. 


Bad news?


Carbohydrates are broken down into glucose which is the primary form of sugar. High levels of sugar in the body can cause heart irregularities.


6. Herbal Supplements


Herbal supplements like hawthorn, bitter orange, ginseng, ephedra, and valerian can also increase heart rate.


Other Conditions that Can Cause Heart Palpitations

 

drugs and medications

 

Apart from foods, following are some of the substances and conditions that may trigger heart palpitations:


1. Drugs And Medications


Certain medications and drugs can cause arrhythmias (i.e. increased heartbeat). They could be as simple as the OTC cold & flu medications or illegal, intoxicating drugs. Such stimulants can be incredibly dangerous for you, and it’s better to steer away from them.


2. Hormonal Imbalance


Well, hormonal changes can be pretty dramatic. And one of their dramas is in the form of heart palpitations. Women usually experience them during the menstrual cycle, menopause or pregnancy.


3. Lifestyle & Emotions


Undoubtedly, lifestyle and emotions can have a significant impact on your heart. For example, if you’re habitual of leading a relaxed, laid-back and sedentary lifestyle, small activities like jogging can cause heart palpitations.


Moreover, emotions like never-ending stress and constant bouts of sadness can also cause heart problems. Therefore, it’s necessary to keep your emotions in check and not watch a horror movie at night if you are terrified.  


Manage Your Issue


You probably wouldn’t be aware of having food sensitivity. It could be because the heart palpitations would not be very intense and subside in a short period. However, if you have started to notice them and want to know if it’s food sensitivity or not – there’s a way to manage it easily.


Maintaining a food diary is your best shot. It may sound like child’s play, but it’s incredibly time-consuming and challenging to maintain. However, at the end of the day, it’s pretty helpful. You can keep track of what and when you ate and if it caused your heart to race or not.


Monitoring your diet can prove to be incredibly helpful when you’re trying to figure out the root of your heart palpitations. Keeping a record means you can show it to your doctor and have problems diagnosed quite efficiently.


When To Seek Professional Help?


Heart palpitations typically fade away after some time, and you can get back to your everyday routine life. However, if the heart palpitations can get too bad, it’s essential to seek professional medical help as soon as possible.


Here are the following symptoms that require immediate attention:


  • Shortness of breath
  • Immense chest pain
  • Profuse sweating
  • Dizziness & lightheadedness
  • Fainting
  • Altered mental state (confusion)
  • Tightness in jaw, neck, arms, and chest

Conclusion


Heart palpitations can be incredibly disturbing and worrying. If you’re experiencing them regularly, it’s advisable to consult a healthcare professional and discuss your issue.


Keeping a food diary with proper tracking of all the meals and supplements consumed over a week can significantly help reach a conclusion. Also, it can help in pointing out food allergies or any other condition that may be causing heart palpitations.


While it isn’t a grave issue but, if it bothers you – well, it’s high time to correct it once and for all.

 

5 Cinnamon Side Effects You Must Know

5 Cinnamon Side Effects You Must Know

 


Famous for multiple health benefits, cinnamon has become a common ingredient in every household. Many people consume these kinds of herbs and spices to promote mind and body wellness. If prescribed by a doctor, their supplements can also be an excellent way to give your body a boost of vitamins and minerals that you may not get in your regular intake. 


However, while cinnamon may have huge benefits, consuming it in large quantities is not a great idea. Some supplements do also have potential side effects, so it’s essential to educate yourself. 


In this article, we’ll discuss some of the possible side effects of cinnamon – Let’s get started!


Health Benefits Of Cinnamon


When consumed in optimal amounts, cinnamon can provide several health benefits. Some of them are:


  • Cinnamon might help improve insulin sensitivity in fat and muscle tissues, increase glucose uptake, and improve glycogen synthesis in the liver – making it easier for the human body to regulate blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes. 
  • Cinnamon can reduce inflammation, which helps in relieving soreness and pain. 
  • Some studies indicate cinnamon might help prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
  • It contains large amounts of polyphenol antioxidants. Antioxidants help protect your body by lowering or preventing the effects of free radicals.
  • It might also slow down the growth of cancerous cells.

Side Effects of Too Much Cinnamon

 

cinnamon picture

 

Several studies have indicated that eating too much Cassia cinnamon has been linked to several side effects.


Here are five possible side effects of overeating Cassia cinnamon:


1. Liver Damage


Cinnamon is known to have nearly 5% of coumarin. Several studies have found that overeating coumarin may cause liver damage, particularly in people with pre-existing liver disease. It can even lead to liver failure and eventually death. 


2. Low Blood Sugar


Another significant side effect of too much cinnamon is that it can drop your blood sugar too low, which can cause:


  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Shakiness
  • Anxiety

People with diabetes definitely undergo medications. If such individuals take cinnamon along with diabetic medicine, it lowers the blood sugar levels to an extreme level resulting in serious health hazards. So make sure you control this as much as possible, especially during medications.


3. Allergies And Mouth Sores


Some individuals are allergic to cinnamon due to high sensitivity to the proteins in the spice. 


Cinnamon contains cinnamaldehyde that can cause allergic reactions, including mouth sores. Some other cinnamon allergy symptoms may include skin irritation and stomach ache every time you ingest it.


4. Breathing Problems


Accidentally inhaling cinnamon can cause coughing, gagging, and trouble when trying to catch your breath. Also, since the cinnamaldehyde in cinnamon is a throat irritant, it may provoke further breathing problems.


Remember that people with asthma (or other medical conditions that cause breathing problems) need to be very careful of accidentally inhaling cinnamon, as they are more likely to experience difficulty breathing.


5. Interactions With Certain Medications


It is safe to eat cinnamon in small to moderate quantities with most medicines. However, taking too much of it may cause an issue if you take heart disease, diabetes, or liver disease medications. This is because cinnamon may interact with those medications and enhance their side effects. 


So make sure to talk to your doctor if you have diabetes before taking cinnamon supplements. Also, if you are taking any medications that affect your liver, abstain from cinnamon supplements to avoid negative interactions.


Summing Up


While overeating cinnamon may have some potential side effects, it’s a healthy spice that’s safe to eat in moderate amounts. Consuming less than the tolerable daily intake (0.1 mg/kg/day) is more than enough to provide you with its health benefits.


It’s always best to talk to your doctor if you want to use cinnamon as a supplement for its health benefits, especially if you’re taking other medications.

 

Everything You Want To Know About Cochlear Implants

Everything You Want To Know About Cochlear Implants

 

A cochlear implant is a small, complex electronic device that partially restores hearing to the damaged parts of the ear. It utilises internal and external systems to help deaf people process sounds and speech. 


This article will explain everything about cochlear implants, including how they work and their risks, and provide some valuable tips on wearing a cochlear implant.


So let’s get started!


Overview


A cochlear implant helps restore hearing caused by severe injury to the inner ear. Usually, people who need a cochlear implant find regular hearing aids to be of no use. This is mainly because these two devices work differently. Hearing aids amplify sound while cochlear implants communicate directly with the auditory nerve in order to produce sound and restore hearing.


Cochlear Implant Parts


The cochlear implant contains an external component that sits behind the ear and an internal device implanted under the skin through surgery. In addition, it has the following parts:


  1. A microphone — picks up an input speech signal from the surroundings.
  2. A speech processor — selects and arranges picked up sounds from the microphone.
  3. A transmitter and receiver — receives signals from the speech processor and moulds them into electric impulses.
  4. An electrode array — gathers the electrical impulses from the receiver and passes them to various regions of the auditory nerve.

How Does A Cochlear Implant Work?


Here’s how a cochlear implant works:


  1. It decodes sound through electronic messages received from the external device worn behind the ear. 
  1. These electronic messages are processed and transmitted to the inner component placed at the auditory nerve. 
  1. From here, the cochlear nerve transmits electronic sound patterns to the brain, where they can be identified as speech and partially restore hearing.

However, like any other new language, the implant recipient has to learn these sound patterns to identify and experience them as regular hearing.


Cochlear Implant Surgery Procedure

 

cochlear implant illustration

 

How To Prepare


Cochlear implant surgery is done under general anaesthesia. It means that you will be in a sleep-like state during the surgery. However, you might need to:


  • Stop using specific medications/supplements for a certain amount of time.
  • Avoid consuming food or drinking water for a certain amount of time.

Besides that, your doctor will give specific instructions to help you prepare.


Before The Procedure


Before proceeding, you will require a comprehensive medical evaluation to determine whether cochlear implants are the best option for you or not. Your doctor will conduct an assessment that may include:


  • A physical examination of your inner ear.
  • Tests of hearing, speech, and sometimes the sense of balance.
  • CT or MRI imaging to determine the inner ear structure and cochlea condition.
  • Psychological testing in some cases to determine a person’s ability to learn to use a cochlear implant.

During The Procedure


Your surgeon will make an incision behind your ear and a tiny hole in the portion of the skull bone where the internal component rests.


After that, they will create a small opening in the cochlea to thread the electrode of the internal component. Next, the skin incision is stitched closed so that the internal device is beneath your skin.


After The Procedure


After the cochlear implant surgery, you might experience:


  • Pressure or discomfort over the implanted ears
  •  Nausea or dizziness

Usually, people feel well enough to return home the day of surgery or the next day. However, to give the surgery section some time to heal, an audiologist won’t activate the cochlear implants for about 2 to 6 weeks after your surgery.


Activation


In order to activate the cochlear implant, an audiologist will:


  • Adjust the sound processor to fit you.
  • Check the parts of the cochlear implant to ensure they work fine.
  • Determine what sounds you hear.
  • Set the device in a way that you will hear to the best of your ability.
  • Provide you with the information on the proper care and use of the device.

Results


The results of the cochlear implant surgery vary from person to person. 


For children, it would be beneficial if they get a cochlear implant at a young age. However, for adults, the best results are usually associated with a brief period of profound hearing loss before getting a cochlear implant. Meanwhile, adults with little or no familiarity with sound may benefit less from cochlear implants.


After getting a cochlear implant, some predicted outcomes may include clearer hearing and improved tinnitus (ear noise). Although ear noise (tinnitus) is not a fundamental reason to get a cochlear implant, the cochlear implant may partially suppress or improve tinnitus severity during use. In some cases, it can also worsen tinnitus severity.


Cochlear Implant Risks


Generally, cochlear implant surgery is considered to be safe, but there are some risks to be aware of: 


  • Possible loss of residual hearing.
  • Possible meningitis (vaccinations are recommended).
  • Occasionally, another surgery to fix a faulty device.

Rarely, post-surgery cochlear implant risks may include:


  • Paralysis of the face
  • Infection at the incision
  • Problems with balance

Daily Cochlear Implant Use

 

child with a cochlear implant

 

You can remove the external system of your cochlear implant when you need to sleep or take a shower – without difficulty! The internal component is beneath your skin, so you don’t need to worry about being uncomfortable or getting it wet. 


It is recommended to remove the device before bed as it can make sleeping uncomfortable and could fall off or get damaged. Furthermore, if you like swimming, you should opt for a waterproof device (you can discuss this with your cochlear plant audiologist).


Summing Up


Cochlear implants can partially restore hearing and are most often beneficial for children. However, speech and everyday environmental noises will sound different from what you remember. Your brain needs time to recognise what these sounds mean. This ongoing process is best achieved if you continually wear the speech processor during your waking hours.


Don’t forget to consult with an audiology specialist and ask them all the related questions to determine if a cochlear implant is right for you.