A cochlear implant is an electronic medical device that is surgically implanted into the ear, to replace the function of the damaged inner ear (cochlear). Unlike hearing aids, which amplify sounds into the outer ear, leaving the cochlear to stimulate the hearing nerve, cochlear implants do the work of damaged parts of the cochlea, to send sound signals to the brain.
Cochlear implants can help people who:
- Have severe to profound sensorineural (inner ear) hearing loss, in one/both ears
- Receive limited 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?
Success of Cochlear Implantation, is effected by;
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 worn behind the ear, captures sound and converts it into digital code
The sound processor transmits the digitally-coded sound, through to the coil embedded under the skin, to the implant in the cochlear
The implant converts the digitally coded sound into electrical impulses and sends them along the electrode array, which is positioned along the cochlea
The implant’s electrodes stimulate the cochlea’s hearing nerve, which then sends the impulses to the brain where they are interpreted as sound.