A cochlear implant is an electronic medical device that replaces the function of the damaged inner ear. Unlike hearing aids, which make sounds louder, cochlear implants do the work of damaged parts of the inner ear (cochlea) to send sound signals to the brain.
Cochlear implants can help people who:
- Have severe to profound sensorineural (inner ear) hearing loss in both ears
- Receive no real hearing benefit from hearing aids
- Have poor speech recognition Children in particular stand to gain significant benefit in hearing performance as a result of the increased sound stimulation during the developmental "window" that occurs during early childhood.
How do they work?
Many people suffer hearing loss because they have damage to hair receptor cells in the inner ear (or cochlea). If some hearing nerves still work, a cochlear implant can allow you to hear. Here's how:
- An external sound processor captures sound and converts it into digital code
- The sound processor transmits the digitally-coded sound through the coil to the implant
- The implant converts the digitally coded sound into electrical impulses and sends them along the electrode array, which is positioned in the cochlea (inner ear)
- The implant's electrodes stimulate the cochlea's hearing nerve, which then sends the impulses to the brain where they are interpreted as sound.
What factors can affect these benefits?
- How long has the patient lived with hearing loss
- How severe their hearing loss is
- The condition of the cochlea (inner ear)
- Other medical conditions
- Practice using their cochlear implant system
Call Hearing Professionals to arrange a consultation and assessment. If you would like to know if you would benefit from a Cochlear implant, call Hearing Professionals to arrange an appointment and a comprehensive assessment.
Listening to 11 year old Grace's piano performances and energetic conversations, it's hard to believe that she is profoundly hearing impaired.
Grace's mother shares her inspirational story:
"When we first discovered Grace was profoundly hearing impaired we despaired about her future. We thought she would be confined to just signing as a means of communication.
Then a friend told us about cochlear implants. We went ahead with the operation when Grace was 1 year old. In the days after switch on, I knew she understood me because she would give actions to familiar nursery rhymes. Speech followed and, within a year, she was tracking like a normal child.
Reproduced courtesy of Cochlear Ltd