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What is a Cochlear Implant?

What is a Cochlear Implant?

A cochlear implant is an electronic device which is implanted into the skull of the cochlear implant user. It is an option for people who have severe to profound hearing loss from inner-ear damage who are no longer helped by using hearing aids.

Unlike hearing aids, which amplify sound, a cochlear implant bypasses damaged portions of the ear to deliver sound signals to the hearing (auditory) nerve.

Cochlear implants use a sound processor that fits behind the ear. The processor captures sound signals and sends them to a receiver implanted under the skin behind the ear. The receiver sends the signals to electrodes implanted in the snail-shaped inner ear (cochlea).

The signals stimulate the auditory nerve, which then directs them to the brain. The brain interprets those signals as sounds, though these sounds won't be just like normal hearing.

It takes time and training to learn to interpret the signals received from a cochlear implant. Within a year of use, most people with cochlear implants make considerable gains in understanding speech.

Parts of a Cochlear Implant:

  • A Cochlear Implant has and external and an internal part
  • The External part is all the apparatus, shown in the image which is worn at ear level by the Cochlear Implant user.
  • The internal part is all the apparatus which is surgically implanted in the skull during a Cochlear Implant Surgery.

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